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t^edral and its_ 

Southern Branch 
of the 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

Form L 1 

V \ 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below 

DEC 7 
JUN 1 1927 





Form L-9-15//i-8,'24 



Hmh Altar and Baldacohino. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 

[Frontispiece^ I. 











If i <J ij (5 


.>),(: N A 

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To THE Most Peecious Blood of Our Lobd 

Jesus Christ, 

To His Blessed Mother, 

His Foster Father St. Joseph, 

And St. Peter His Vicar. 

Scconbar^ jpatrona 

St. Augustine and all British Saints. 
St. Patrick and all Saints of Ireland. 


Many years ago I had the privilege, by Mr. Bentley's permission, 
of seeing over every part of tlie Cathedral, I appreciated it, but 
not enough. Spectators have a way of thinking that a " piece 
of architecture " is erected so that they shall come and say whether 
they, like it or not, and they usually say that they don't quite 
like it, and something ought to be different, A younger man 
indeed may not understand the burden of such a work; the tens 
of thousands of decisions, adjustments, compromises, the power 
of getting things done, the responsibility, the strain — all are hidden 
except the skill of a wise master builder. 

The opportunity of again recorr'ing my admiration for Mr. 
Bentley's Cathedral gives me much pleasure. The great things 
are the masterly structure and the sincerity of the whole work. 
The taste and learning are exquisite and astonishing, yet this 
taste and learning are the least parts of Bentley's work. He 
had to supply them to justify himself to his employers and his 
epoch, but the merit of the Cathedral goes altogether beyond 
stylism. It is a building nobly planned, carefully balanced, and 
soundly constructed. Beyond the echoes there is the universal 
and the livmg. Throughout all the preliminary talk about the 
choice of a style Bentley must have known that he wanted 
to build, and he has left us a building serious, serene, and really 

If I might I would venture to ask for reverence towards this 


remarkable work. It should not be lightly experimented with 
and modified ; everything added, which is not up to the height of 
Bentley's work, will really count as a subtraction, however costly 
it may be. 

W. R. Lethaby. 

JiUy 1919. 




The Laying of the Foundation-Stone ... 1 


Birth of the Cathedral Idea : Acquisition of the 

Site, 1853—1894 


The Choosing of the Architect and the Style, 

1892—1894 20 

The Plan 37 


The Structure — Building Progress — ^IVIaterials — Con- 
structional Problems ...... 63 


Description and Details of Exterior . . . 100 


Description and Details of Interior (I) . . . 117 


Description'and Details of Interior — continued . . 148 




The Adaptation and Development of Byzantine Archi- 
tecture AS exemplified in the Cathedral . . 208 

The Mosaics 223 

Cathedral Finance ....... 259 


Archbishop's House, Library, Chapter Hall, Choir 

School, and Clergy House ..... 273 


The Architect's Last Visit — The Opening — The Con- 
secration ........ 305 


Founders and Benefactors of Westminster Cathedral 327 


Westminster Cathedral and Comparative Table of 
THE Twenty-One Ancient English Cathedrals and 
Westminster Abbey ...... 332 


Sketch Plan showing Modification of the Sanctuary 
Levels, and Departure from Original arrangement 

At end 


Diagrammatic Scheme for Lady Chapel Mosaics . At end 

VOL. I. 

High Altar and Baldacchino .... Frontispiece 


I. Laying of the Foundation-Stone, June 29th, 1895 . . 6 

II. John Francis Bentley, ^etat 60 ..... 7 

III. View from South-West, looking North-East ... 20 

IV. Great West Door ........ 21 

V. Window of West Tribune and Balcony over Main Entrance 34 

VI. SouthHalfofWestWindow OF Nave, withTribune Vaulting 35 

VII. Roof of Baptistery, looking West ..... 48 

VIII. North-West Porch ........ 49 

IX. General View from South-East, looking North-West . 62 

X. Lunette and Turret ....... 63 

XI. View of Stepping of Sanctuary Dome .... 80 

XII. Windows of Sanctuary Dome and Turret of East End . 81 

XIII. Four Details of External Ornament : (A) Bird Finial on 

Campanile. (B) Detail, North-West Porch. (C) Detail 
OF West Faqade. Engaged Shaft to Left of Central 

Doorway. (D) Finial Cross of Campanile ... 94 

XIV. View, from Tribune, of Nave, looking East ... 95 
XV. View of Interior, from Choir, looking West . . 108 

XVI. A Bay of the Nave ....... 109 

XVII. North Transept, View from South Gallery of Nave . 122 

XI 1 






Sanctuary, Upper and Lower Arcading 

The Rood 

S. Peter's Crypt, showing Reliquaries in South Wall 

Four of the Crypt Capitals ..... 

Four Sculptured Capitals : A, B, and D, Interior 
C, Exterior ........ 

XXIII. Arcade between Baptistery and Chapel of SS. Gregory 

and Augustine, from Chapel Side 

XXIV. The Font 

XXV. Original Drawing for Sculptured Capital between Side 
Chapels and Aisles (from Full Size Design) 

The Brampton 


Chapel of SS. Gregory and Augustine ; 
Chantry ..... 

XXVII. Original Drawing for SS. Gregory and Augustine's Chapel 
SHO^viNG Grille and Tomb as proposed . 

















View of the Lady Chapel from the South Transept 
Detail of Lady Chapel Marble-Work 
Screen and Gates of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel 
Vaughan Chantry, Chapel of S. Thomas of Canterbury 
Chapel of the Holy Souls, Walmesley Chantry . 
Chapel of the Holy Souls, Altar and Altar-Piece 
The State Sacristy ..... 

Design for Mosaic Lunette for Chapel of 
Souls ....... 

Design for Mosaic Figure for Chapel of 
Souls ....... 

Archbishop's House .... 
Grand Staircase, Archbishop's House 
Throne Room, Archbishop's House 
Private Chapel, Archbishop's House 
The Diocesan Library, Westminster 
Cathedral Hall: Apse and Platform 
Cathedral Hall, showing Galleries 

THE Holy 
THE Holy 













Pin. PACE 

1. First Tentative Plan for Westminster Cathedral ... 38 

2. Second Tentative Plan for Westminster Cathedral . . 40 
8. Plan of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, Constantinople ... 44 

4, Plan of San Vitale, Ravenna 44 

6. Plan of S. Mark's, Venice ........ 45 

6. Ground-Floor Plan of Westminster Cathedral ... 47 

7. Plan at Triforium Levels 50 

8. Plans at Level of Upper Windows ...... 53 

9. Roof Plan 55 

10. West Elevation .......... 57 

11. North Elevation ......... 59 

12. Elevation of East End ........ 61 

13. Median Longitudinal Section ....... 65 

14. Longitudinal Sections through Chapels and Transepts, North 

AND South ........... 67 

15. Longitudinal Sections through Choir, Baptistery, and Narthex 69 

16. Longitudinal Sections of Aisles of Nave and Sanctuary . . 71 

17. Transverse Sections through Sanctuary, looking East, and 

through North Transept, looking East and West ... 73 

18. Transverse Sections through Nave and Chapel and through 

Main Piers and Arches of Nave 75 

19. Main and Secondary Nave Counterforts ..... 77 

20. Transept Counterforts ........ 79 

21. Support and Abutment of the Sanctuary ..... 82 

22. Diagram of Nave Vaulting 89 

28. Diagram of Support and Abutment of Sanctuary Dome . . 93 

24, Section through Campanile from a Height of 74 ft. 9 ins. . 97 

25. Ground Plan of S. Sophia, Constantinople .... 216 



26 AND 27. Diagrams illustrating Domical Support 

28. Archbishop's House: Basement Plan . 

29. Archbishop's House: Ground-Floor Plan . 

30. Archbishop's House : First-Floor Plan 

31. Sketch Plan of Alteration of Sanctuary Levei^ 

32. Diagrammatic scheme for Lady Chapel Mosaics . 


. 217 

. 279 
. 281 
. 284 
At end 


The difficulty of collecting material for this simple record of 
my father's life and work has been far greater than I anticipated. 
I am therefore the more deeply grateful to those whose kind help 
has been so freely given, and welcome this opportunity of again 
acknowledging it and recording my thanks. Mr. Charles Hadfield, 
his confrere, Mr, N. H. J. Westlake, the late Mr. T. C. Lewis, 
and Mr. W. Christian Symons contributed valuable reminiscences 
of his professional life, early and later, and the first named added 
a delightful pen portrait. The Misses Montefiore lent letters and 
illustrations of some very early work. For information relative 
to the construction and the marbles and mosaics of Westminster 
Cathedral I have to thank Mr. C. H. MuUis, Mr. Percy Lamb, 
Mr. Joseph Whitehead, Mr. Barnes of Messrs. Farmer & Briudley, 
Mr. George Bridge, the late Mr. John Clayton, and Mr. W. Schultz 
Weir. A large measure of gratitude is due to the Rev. Herbert 
Lucas, S.J., for the material contained in Chapter IX of the first 
volume, in which is wrought out the theme of the adaptation 
and development of Byzantine architecture as exemplified in West- 
minster Cathedral. And last, but by no means least, to Professor 
W. R. Lethaby special thanks are offered for his introductory 
tribute of appreciation of my father's magnum opus. 

The assistance given with the illustrations has been no less 
valuable. My brother, Osmond Bentley, selected some of the 
original drawings, while for the loan of certain photographs of 


Westminster Cathedral the book is indebted to Mr. R. Davis, 
Messrs. Farmer & Brindley, Messrs. Whitehead, and Messrs. Burns 
& Oates. I desire also to record my thanks to the Cathedral 
authorities for permission to take new photographs, and to give 
credit to Mr. Cyril Ellis for his fine camera pictures of that build- 
ing and of others in the second volume. Among the several 
lenders of photographs of which use has been made, acknowledg- 
ments are to be rendered to Mr. S. Taprell Holland for illus- 
trations of Holy Rood, Watford ; to Mrs. Ernest Hills for pictures 
of St. Luke's, Chiddingstone ; to Messrs. Elsley and Mr. H. Longden 
for photographs of metal-work ; to Mrs. W. R. Sutton for pictures 
of furniture ; to Messrs. Daymond for specimens of wood-carving ; 
and to the Rector of St. John's, Beaumont, for a fine photograph 
of the interior of the school chapel. 

W. DE l' H. 

July 1919. 




On Saturday, June 29th, 1895, came to fruition the hopes and 
prayers and labours of over thirty years. Dawn, overcast, chilly, 
and threatening rain, revealed the long-deserted prison site, now 
gay with awnings of scarlet and white and the fluttering flags of 
the Empire and the Papacy, mingled with those of the nations 
whose generous purses had contributed to the realization of this 
great day. Tier upon tier to north and south of the erstwhile 
desolate " four acres " rose the seats for those privileged to witness 
the function — while, before the very earliest gleams of light, 
shadowy forms had secured vantage-ground in the open space 
reserved for several thousand standing people at the westernmost 
end. From the far distant country, even from across the English 
Channel, came these eager pilgrims, unafraid of the long hours 
of waiting, to take their humble part in the laying of the founda- 
tion-stone of Westminster's new cathedral church. 

As the light, gathering strength, broke through the chill grey 
clouds, gradually the watchers beyond the western barriers 
discerned, facing them, the scene set for the day's solemn act of 
dedication ; first the altar, scarlet-draped, set before a great 
plain red cross ' of wood, with arms, flung wide, symbolizing the 
dedication in chief to the Precious Blood of Our Lord ; next, on 

^ On the apot where the high altar now standa. 


the Gospel side of the altar, twin thrones of crimson and gold for 
the Cardinal Primates of England and Ireland ; then the gathering 
light touched into prominence seats arranged to right and left 
of the sanctuary for the noble array of Founders^ and Bene- 
factors : finally revealing the grey corner-stone, mystic symbol 
of the "Rock" and the "sure foundation "—a massive block 
of Cornish granite from their Penryn quarries, the gift of Mr. 
W. G. Freeman and his sons, Messrs. John A. and Bernard A. 

Soon the interest of an ever-growing stream of arrivals helped 
to beguile the tedium of the weary hours of waiting. Men and 
women bearing the eminent names of an ancient nobility, men 
distinguished in law, in politics, in literature, in their country's 
service by land and sea, assembled to take their places in the 
seats reserved for the Founders and Benefactors of the cathedral 
that was to be. There sat Henry, fifteenth Duke of Norfolk, 
Premier Peer and Earl Marshal of England ; there, the Earls of 
Ashburnham and Denbigh, respectively fifth and ninth of their 
lines. Among ladies, distinguished as much by charity as by 
noble rank, sat the Dowager-Duchess of Newcastle, widow of the 
sixth Duke, the Countesses of Cottenham and Mexborough, the 
Ladies Mary and Margaret Howard, Lady Mary Savile, and 
Lady Lovat, widow of the thirteenth Baron of a loyal and stormy 
house. Prominent in the ranks of our Catholic Peers and their 
wives came Lord Acton, the liistorian, Lord Beaumont, Lord 
Braye, Lord Camoys, Lord and Lady Clifford of Chudleigh, Lord 
and Lady Herries, Lord Petre, Lady North, and Lady Sherborne. 
Close by knelt the Right Hon. Henry Matthews, Home Secretary 
till three years previously in Lord Salisbury's administration and 
soon destined to become Viscount Llandaff. Among members of 
the House of Commons came Lord and Lady Edmund Talbot and 
Sir Donald and Lady Macfarlane ; whilst among many Catholic 
laymen bearing distinguished and familiar names were Sir 

• Founders were donors of £1,000 and upwards. For a complete list of these see 
Appendix A. 


Stuart Knill, the first Catholic Lord Mayor of London since 
Reformation days ; Colonel Vaughan, of Courtfield, and Mr. 
Reginald Vaughan, the Cardinal's brothers ; Sir Walter de 
Souza ; General Sir William Butler and his wife, the artist known 
to the world as the painter of The Roll-Call ; Judges Stonor and 
Bagshawe, who both had brothers in the procession of bishops ; 
Sir John Haggerston ; Lady Vavasour ; Sir Humphrey and 
Lady de Trafford ; Sir Thomas Esmonde ; The O'Clery, a private 
Chamberlain to the Pope ; Mr. Wilfred Meynell ; Lady Hawkins, 
who later, when her husband, the eminent judge, entered the 
Catholic Church, gave with him the Chapel of SS. Gregory and 
Augustine to the cathedral ; Mr. and Mrs. Wilfrid Ward ; and 
Mr. (later Sir Francis) Burnand, the editor of Punch. 

Foreign Catholic countries sent their representatives to do 
honour to this event of world-wide interest and significance : 
among whom were Baron de Courcel, the French Ambassador, 
the Italian Ambassador, Baron Whettnall and Senor Don Luis 
de Soveral, the Belgian and Portuguese Ministers, and the Mexican 

Long before 11 o'clock, when the first triumphant notes of 
" The War March of the Priests " from Mendelssohn's Aihalie 
announced that the procession was taking its way through the 
intervening streets from Archbishop's House in Carlisle Place, 
every seat, every available inch of standing room was filled. 
So acute had become the tension of expectancy that as the 
leading cross-bearer and acolytes came into view on the site's 
eastern extremity, nearly ten thousand people arose simul- 
taneously, thrilled with the strong wave of emotion that seemed 
to sweep all present into this unity of impulse and desire. Then 
appeared the long array of the Church's organizations of Faith, of 
Hope, and of Charity — a procession picturesque, varied, illustrative 
of the catholicity and continuity of the Church. First, and 
most fittingly so, priests and students from St. Joseph's Missionary 
Society at Mill Hill, Cardinal Vaughan's earliest and most beloved 
work ; then, in slow-pacing succession, walked the Fathers of 


the Institute of Charity ; the Marist Fathers ; the Oblates of 
Mary Immaculate ; the Passionists with gleaming silver badges 
on their black habits ; Jesuits ; Servites ; Franciscans in brown 
habits and cord-knotted girdles, with Dominicans, their brother 
order in point of time and complementary spheres of labour ; 
Benedictines ; Canons Regular of the Lateran ; representatives 
of the Institute of St. Andrew ; Carmelites ; Capuchins ; Au- 
gustinians ; Oblates of St. Charles, the congregation of priests 
founded in Bayswater, at the desire of the first Archbishop of 
Westminster, by him who was to become the second, and which 
early admitted to its community the young priest who was to 
become the See's third occupant. Priests of the Oratory of St. 
Philip Neri came close on these last ; followed by a long array 
of secular clergy, missionary rectors, deans and monsignori 
bringing the first note of vivid colour into the ranks of black and 
white and brown. 

Then, succeeding the Canons of the Metropolitan Suffragan 
Diocese of Southwark, came Bishops in cope and mitre, Mon- 
seigneur Chabot, the representative of the Bishop of Orleans, 
the Bishop of Davenport, U.S.A., the Bishop of Galle in India, 
among those of the English Province. Monsignor Stonor, the 
Archbishop of Trebizond, representing His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, 
walked next ; and then, preceded by the cross-bearer. Father 
John Vaughan, and by the sacred Pallium borne on a cushion, 
the two Princes of the Church, each in his cappa magna of glowing 
scarlet silk. Cardinal Logue, Archbishop of Armagh, and Cardinal 
Vaughan, Archbishop of Westminster, in the full dignity of his 
imposing presence. The Canons of the Chapter of Westminster 
ended the procession, in which no women took part ; the Sisters 
of Charity from their convent hard by, in Carlisle Place, had 
quietly and early slipped into the places reserved behind the 
altar, at which point their snowy cornettes made a pleasant 
note of contrast against its brilliant draperies. 

From the massed choirs, under the baton of Father Charles 
Cox of the Pro-Cathedral, Kensington, to the right of the altar, 


came the solemn Gregorian music continuing the reverent, im- 
pressive, yet withal triumphant note to which the procession 
had been marshalled. The Cardinal-Archbishop, laying aside 
his crimson robes, then vested as usual in sight of the people. 
By a special exercise of the Holy See's privilege, he was per- 
mitted, on this unique occasion, to wear the Pallium out of the 
Sacrifice of the Mass ; and thus vested, with the simple bands 
of white wool signed with black crosses across his shoulders, 
over a magnificent cope of white and gold, the Cardinal advanced 
across the sanctuary, now filled with those taking part in the 
ceremony, and after a few moments of silent prayer, approached 
with his attendants the canopy of scarlet and white under which 
hung the great stone above its concrete bed. The choirs sang 
" Quam dilecta tabernacula tua " during its blessing with holy 
water and incense, followed by the Litany of the Saints, at the 
close of whose long invocations the Cardinal rose, and with silver 
mallet and trowel again bent over the stone. 

Standing or kneeling throughout, close to this spot, now the 
north-western angle of the sanctuary, might be observed the archi- 
tect, a figure of aloof humility, almost concealed behind the stone 
in the desire to remain in the background, and content that those 
who knew him not should fail to recognize the man on whom the 
success of the future edifice depended. To his interior vision the 
cathedral of the future was a glorious and harmonious reality ; he 
knelt beneath domes gleaming with mosaic, as he would have 
them clad ; shining marbles from quarries the wide world over 
encompassed him in walls and balustrades and columns ; the 
great red cross drew his eye of worship to the Holy of Holies 
under the baldacchino to be so faithfully wrought out. His feet 
rested in imagination on the marble floor wherein seemed to 
float the multitudinous fish of St. Peter's net. 

As the solemn moment approached, the architect rose in 
his quiet fashion, and with the attendant masons, assisted Cardinal 
Vaughan at the precise setting of the stone in its appointed place, 
a cylinder containing a record of the event and a copy of the 


dedication of the cathedral being placed in a cavity beneath. 
The stone thus laid " In the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost, that true faith may flourish here, and 
the fear of God and brotherly love, and that this place may be 
devoted to prayer," the Cardinal, after the singing of Ps. cxxvi, 
" Nisi Dominus asdificaverit domum," and the " Miserere," set 
forth again, with the long train of ecclesiastics, to bless the marked- 
out boundaries of the foundations as prescribed by the rubrics 
of the Roman Pontifical. These lines being external to the 
ground enclosed for the day's function, were invisible to those 
in the covered stands, though well in view of the great numbers 
of spectators who crowded the windows and roofs of surrounding 

On regaining the sanctuary the Cardinal intoned the hymn 
of joyful supplication, " Veni, Creator Spiritus," and after the 
recital of the collects. Canon Moyes announced in the name of 
Pope Leo XIII the indulgences granted and proper for the 
occasion. Low Mass with music, sung by Cardinal Logue, brought 
to a conclusion the spiritual part of the great ceremony. 

At the luncheon, in a vast marquee specially made for the 
occasion on the southern side of the ground, about eleven hundred 
persons were present, and Cardinal Vaughan, presiding, gave 
the first toast : " The Health of the Sovereign Pontiff, our Holy 
Spiritual Father, Leo XIII." "The Holy Father," said his 
Eminence, " has been pleased to mark his appreciation of this 
solemn function by charging me to wear the sacred Pallium during 
the laying of the stone and the blessing of the foundations. I 
believe it to be a thing almost unheard of in the Church that it 
should be worn out of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I propose 
in your name and in my own that we despatch at once to the 
Vatican the following telegram : ' To our Holy Fatlier, Pope 
Leo XIII. The Cardinal-Archbishops of Armagh and West- 
minster have laid the foundation-stone of Westminster Cathedral 
on this feast day of the Holy Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, in 
the midst of an immense gathering consisting of ambassadors and 

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Plate II. — John Fkancis Bentley, aetat GO 
(From a Portrait by Rene de I'Hopital.) 


ministers of foreign Catholic countries, of bishops and prelates 
and clergy, secular and regular, and faithful laity. They all, 
assembled here at luncheon, send their homage, obedience, and love 
to their spiritual Father Leo XIIL' " The toast was drunk up- 
standing with great enthusiasm, and a similar burst of applause 
and loyalty honoured the second toast, proposed also by Cardinal 
Vaughan, to " Her Majesty the Queen," to whom, as his Eminence 
observed, none of her subjects are more loyal than the Catholics 
of this country. 

The toast of " Success to Westminster Cathedral," proposed 
by Cardinal Logue, was responded to by the Duke of Norfolk. 
That of " The Founders " was proposed by Lord Acton, to which the 
Right Hon. Henry Matthews, M.P., responded. Lord Edmund 
Talbot proposed the health of Cardinal Logue, while " The Guests," 
toasted by Cardinal Vaughan, replied through the mouth of Sir 
Donald Macfarlane, M.P. The Marquess of Ripon was to have 
given this toast, but a Privy Council held at Windsor that day, 
owing to the change of government and the swearing-in of the 
new Ministry, rendered his absence unavoidable. 

In glorious sunshine, triumphantly blessing the event, the 
day's ceremonies ended, and the great gathering dispersed. 




As early as 1853, in that " second springtime " of English Catholic 
life (to use Cardinal Newman's oft-quoted phrase), the idea of a 
great metropolitan cathedral was germinating in the minds oi 
Catholics. Within a short three years of that storm of invective 
which broke upon the re-erected hierarchy, and almost threatened 
its destruction, the late Ambrose Phillips de Lisle wrote to Cardinal 
Wiseman of his conviction " that nothing could more conduce 
towards the conversion of England than the establishment of a 
glorious solemn cathedral church in London, in which the Divine 
Office could be carried out with all conceivable glory and magnifi- 
cence in a way worthy of England's past recollections, and in 
some degree commensurate with what so many holy Servants of 
God bid us to hope for her future." 

Not yet had the hour struck for the realization of this splendid 
vision of faith. Cardinal Wiseman was sorely handicapped by 
the lack of sufficient priests to carry on the bare necessities of 
ministration among the poor of London. Churches and schools were 
few and ill-equipped, even had the "labourers for the vineyard" 
been ready. The remaining years of the life of the first Archbishop 
of Westminster were devoted to organizing and strengthening the 
body ecclesiastic, to meet these pressing spiritual needs — and 
thus prepare the way for the great educational and charitable 
developments to which his successor became pledged. 

Cardinal Wiseman died on February 15th, 1865. Some few 
months earlier he had spoken of his desire that Westminster might 
raise a cathedral worthy of the metropolis of the world ; this 



almost dying wish was treasured by his friends, who conceived that 
no more fitting monument could perpetuate his revered memory. 
At a preliminary, informal meeting held at Lord Petre's house on 
March 15th, the scheme took shape ; and received its public 
sanction and practical inception at a gathering of clergy and laity 
on May 15th. This crowded and representative meeting took 
place at Willis's Rooms in Hanover Square under the presidency 
of Dr. Manning (then only Archbishop-elect'), the resolutions 
proposed being warmly adopted. It was resolved to invite the 
co-operation of Catholics of the whole empire, and even of foreign 
countries, for the success of the great undertaking. A subscription 
list opened with the large sum of £16,000, given or promised before 
the close of the meeting, at which also trustees and officers were 
appointed, the treasurers being the second Earl of Gainsborough 
and the late Sir Charles Clifford, Bart, 

Dr. Manning communicated to the meeting the approbation 
and blessing of Pope Pius IX ; and spoke of the great work in his 
eloquent and emphatic way as being not only a work of affection 
towards his illustrious and beloved predecessor, but also one which 
was absolutely needed for the Archdiocese and for the Catholic 
Church in this country. He announced in the course of his speech 
that he would gladly take up the burden laid upon him, for the 
decision, he was convinced, was both prudent and right. Many of 
the suffragan sees' were already provided with cathedrals, while 
the metropolitan see of Westminster, instead of a cathedral, had 
only, as a j9ro-cathedral, an ordinary church.' The see of West- 
minster needed a cathedral proportionate to the chief city of the 
British Empire — and feeling all this, he could not for a moment 
hesitate. Yet while accepting the burden and responsibility, he 
would do so on one condition : that before he could lay a stone 

^ He had been appointed by Pius IX on April 30th. 

' The London suffragan see of Southwark had built its Gothic Cathedral of St. George, 
by A. W. Pugin, in 1848. 

^ St. Mary's, Moorfields (its foundation stone laid in 1817), was pulled down in 1900, 
the sale of the site contributing £48,.555 to the new Cathedral Building Fund. The new 
church, in Renaissance style, was built by Mr. George Sherrin in 1907. 


upon a stone, the foundations of the spiritual church in the diocese 
must be completely laid — provision of schools and orphanages 
for the 20,000 deserted and neglected children of London must be 
made, and all precedence given to this most urgent spiritual need. 

Manning's eight years of experience in the poor and crowded 
district of Bayswater and Notting Hill, where he had laboured with 
his fellow Oblates, had vividly impressed on him this crying and 
primary need for schools and orphanages, and to the work of 
creating them he dedicated his life. But, though as regards the 
cathedral scheme, the Archbishop's was of necessity a qualified enthu- 
siasm, nevertheless the work of collecting funds proceeded, both 
at home and abroad, without delay. The late Bishop of Emmaus, 
the Right Rev. J. L. Patterson, leaving his duties as Master of 
Ceremonies to the Archbishop, started for Austria at the end of 
1865, and as the result of a six months' pilgrimage through that 
kingdom and the Italian dominions it was so soon to lose, brought 
home a notable contribution to the Cathedral Fund. Germany 
was canvassed by the Rev. C. Boeddinghaus ; Spain contributed 
generously through the hands of the late Canon Dalton ; Italy, 
visited by the late Monsignor Clifford, sent help likewise; while 
the Rev. C. H. Denny and the Rev. Dr. Anderdon, Cardinal 
Manning's nephew (who both later joined the Society of Jesus), 
travelled and collected throughout the United States of America. 

So much for the sinews of war — these in part provided, the 
selection of an adequate site became the next duty. That the 
possibility of building the cathedral outside the City of West- 
minster was at one time under serious consideration, is shown by 
the following extract from a letter ' to Monsignor Talbot in Rome, 
dated November 8th, 1865. The Archbishop had returned but 
a week before from his journey to receive the pallium at the hands 
of Pius IX. He writes : " I believe that I can now tell you of the 
site for the cathedral — namely, the Chelsea Cemetery. It is a 
square of 300 ft. by 340, which could not have been got anywhere 
in London for £60,000 or £80,000. London is travelling westward. 

'■ The Life of Cardinal Manning, by Edward S. Purcell, vol. ii, p. 265. 


From Belgrave Square to Kensington will be the best part of 
London. It is within ten minutes' walk of Eaton Square and 
twenty of Westminster. Upon the whole I cannot doubt that it 
is the best thing we can do. It would give room for a bishop's 
house and seminary." 

These negotiations eventually came to naught ; and the 
difficulty of finding a suitable site in Westminster at a possible 
price gave rise to the delay and dissatisfaction which culminated 
at length in the resignation of their trusteeships by the Earl of 
Gainsborough and Sir Charles Clifford, the moneys collected for the 
Wiseman Memorial being handed over in trust to the Archbishop 
of Westminster. Manning, though faithful to his promise that 
" first I must gather in the poor children," had never for a moment 
shelved the project ; and with the sum of money then at his disposal, 
was enabled after two years of search, in September 1867, to pur- 
chase a piece of land in Westminster. He wrote again to Monsignor 
Talbot on September 6th : " I have bought the Jesuits' land at 
Westminster for the Cathedral. I was glad to indemnify them 
for the money they had spent there. It is sufficient for a fine 
church 480 ft. long by 86 wide." 

This freehold site, bought for £16,500 (of which only £10,000 
was then paid in cash), consisted of the long narrow strip of land 
on the right-hand side of Carlisle Place (entering from Victoria 
Street) between the Convent of the Sisters of Charity and the 
large corner building which was successively the Guards' Institute 
and Archbishop's House, and is now a department of the Office of 
Works. Notwithstanding the inconvenient narrowness of the site, 
it was decided to plan a church suited to its limitations, and the 
late Mr. Henry Clutton was commissioned to prepare designs for a 
Gothic cathedral of great length, but transeptless and only about 
70 ft. wide, space for an archiepiscopal residence being left at the 

Clutton was a kinsman of Manning's by marriage, and his 
selection as architect of Westminster Cathedral seems to have 
caused some heart-burning. Letters appeared in the Tablet 


criticizing the appointment, and the rather heated discussion was 
at length closed by the editor's refusal to publish more cor- 
respondence, while defending the rights of bishops to a free hand 
in choosing their cathedral architects. It is of interest to recall 
here that John Bentley was for a few years Mr. Clutton's pupil ■ 
and assistant, and had he accepted the partnership at one time 
suggested, would doubtless have co-operated in these early 
cathedral plans. 

In July 1868 came the opportunity to improve the site by 
acquiring also the vacant freehold land on the opposite or left- 
hand side of Carlisle Place, 430 ft. long, 108 ft. wide, at the 
reduced price of £20,000.^ The roadway between this land and 
that already in the Archbishop's possession never having been 
made public, the ownership and right of building thereon would 
belong to the freeholder of the combined sites, thereby increasing 
the total width for the greater part of their length to about 230 ft. 

The money in the Archbishop's hands did not in his opinion 
justify the incurring on his own responsibility of a total site ex- 
penditure of £36,500, but the promises of support in response to 
a private and unsigned circular of inquiry were of so encouraging 
a nature that in August 1868 the second site was bought, £4,000 
being paid down — the balance of the unpaid purchase money (in all 
£22,500 on the two sites) being charged with an interest of nearly 
£1,000 a year. The Archbishop was now in possession of a site 
of about two and one-third acres, and again Mr. Clutton made plans, 
this time for two alternatives — one, for a cathedral to be erected 
on the whole of the land acquired ; the other, for one intended for 
the second site only, in the event of a decision to sell all or part of 
the first. 

In spite, however, of these preparations, progress still halted — 
partly perhaps because of the irregularity of the site, for the land 
first acquired was 90 ft. longer at one end than the second 
piece, though some 130 ft. shorter at its opposite end. It received 
further improvement in 1872 by the purchase of the before- 

* See vol. ii, p. 342. '' £35,000 wae the original sum asked. 


mentioned Guards' Institute at the south-west corner of 
Carlisle Place. This spacious, though ugly and gloomy building 
had been erected a few years previously by the officers of the 
Brigade of Guards as a club-house for their men ; financially it 
was a failure, and the decision to sell it came opportunely for the 
Archbishop's purpose. 

Four cogent reasons governed Manning's decision to buy 
this house for his own residence : (1) If not purchased by him 
it might have been bought by persons in whose possession it 
could have become a nuisance or an inconvenience to the services 
of the future cathedral. (2) By the Archbishop's coming to reside 
in it, close to the cathedral site, many persons might be drawn 
to take an interest in the cathedral project itself. (3) By adding 
to the cathedral site the land on which the building stood, and 
erecting another house in its stead at the other end of the site, 
near to the Sisters of Charity, the cathedral site could be greatly 
increased. (4) Until this should be done, the building would 
serve as a suitable residence for the Archbishop, and also as a 
spacious and convenient house of diocesan administration. 

The house was bought, not with money subscribed for the 
cathedral, but partly with private means of his own; and to 
" Archbishop's House," as it was henceforth known, in the 
following year the administration of the diocese was moved 
from Cardinal Wiseman's inconveniently distant old dwelling- 
place at 8, York Place, Baker Street. 

For the fourth time Mr. Clutton prepared designs, and at the 
Cardinal's wish, on a far grander and ampler scale. This final 
plan was for a cathedral in Early Pointed style, not unlike that 
of Cologne, externally about 450 ft. in length, by 250 ft. in width 
across the transepts. The internal measurements provided for a 
length of 412 ft., a width across the nave and its four aisles of 
140 ft., and a height of 130 ft. 

It might well be that those responsible for funds began to fear 
and to draw back as they counted the cost of building a Gothic 
church of dimensions so magnificent and in some so greatly exceed- 


ing the largest of our English cathedrals. Mj uy thousands of 
pounds were being spent about that time on the Cardinal's pet 
scheme, the Diocesan Seminary at Hammersmith. He had laid 
in 1867 the foundation-stone of the Church of Our Lady of Victories 
at Kensington, which was destined to serve for five-and-thirty 
years as the Pro-Cathedral of the archdiocese. Perhaps, too, it 
was difficult to raise money for a cathedral scheme so vast that 
few, if any, contributors could hope to see its completion. No 
doubt to all these reasons was due the small progress made in the 
'seventies by the Cathedral Fund, whence it followed that Mr. 
Glutton's plans yet remained on paper only. 

Encouraged by a communication from the late Sir Tatton 
Sykes, Bart., in October 1882 the Cardinal made an enormous and 
final effort to raise money ; and was able to wipe out the debt still 
remaining on the cathedral site early in 1883. A total of about 
£43,500 had in all been spent on this land, exclusive of the reim- 
bursement of Mr. Clutton for his expenses, the only payment he 
would consent to receive for his great labours. Among the chief 
contributors to this site were the eight persons who between them 
subscribed over £29,000 of its cost. These Pioneers of the cathedral, 
as they have with truth been called, were : Cardinal Manning, the 
Duke of Norfolk, the 12th Baron Petre, the 1st Baron Gerard, the 
late Baroness Weld, the late Countess Tasker, Mr. F. M. Spilsbury, 
and lastly, a generous donor who desired that the veil of anonymity 
should never be lifted. 

The correspondence above alluded to led the Cardinal to 
believe that, without the need of any further public contributions, 
a fine cathedral would, by the generosity of this one donor, be given 
to the diocese, complete and ready for divine worship, and in the 
elation of this hope he decided to exchange the existing site for 
one in a more open and splendid position. 

The land on which had stood for many years the Middlesex 
County Prison of Tothill Fields (in earlier days part of the Abbey 
lands of Westminster) came at this juncture into the property 
market. Cardinal Manning, realizing the advantage of such a 


position over that of the land bought in 1867 and 1868, decided 
on its acquisition if within the bounds of possibility, and thereupon 
in November 1882 sent for his solicitor, tlie late Mr. Alfred J. Blount. 
The interview opened in the Cardinal's usual brief, laconic, and 
somewhat imperious fashion. Drawing Mr. Blount to the window 
of his room from which the prison site could be seen, and waving his 
hand to indicate the ground, he said : " That land is for sale. I wish 
you to buy it for me ! " The finding of ways and means was left 
to Mr. Blount, who at once set to work to carry out the Cardinal's 

The price of the prison and its site was ascertained to be 
£115,000 ; the manner in which this large sum was raised may 
perhaps be best told in the words of the late Bishop Johnson, 
for over forty years diocesan secretary, and therefore more intim- 
ately acquainted than any other with the business of the arch- 
diocese. His record has been in parts slightly compressed. 

" Mr. Blount, after the interview related above, put the matter 
before Mr. Herman Lescher, chartered accountant, who drew up 
an admirable scheme for the formation of a limited company 
which became, as it were, the machinery that gave effect to the 
Cardinal's wishes. The Memorandum and Articles of Association 
of the Westminster Land Company . . . were dated September 12th, 
1883. T'^e subscribers thereto were the late Earl of Denbigh, the 
Count de lorre Diaz,' the late Sir Charles Clifford, Bart., the late 
Hon. H. W. Petre, Mr. Alfred J. Blount,' the late Mr. Herman 
Lescher, and Mr. (now the Rev.) F. C. New. . . . On August 16th, 
1883, a Conditional Agreement for the purchase had been entered 
into between Sir Richard Nicholson, Clerk of the Peace for Middle- 
sex, and the late Earl of Denbigh, the Count de Torre Diaz, the 
ninth Baron Beaumont, and the late Sir Charles Clifford, Bart. 
Beside those whose names have already appeared in the Articles 
of Agreement, etc., the subscribers were Lord Arundell of Wardour, 
Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, the late Mr. T. Weld Blundell, Mr. 
Robert Vigers, Mr. W. Hussey Walsh, and Mr. E. F. D. Walshe. 

' Both now deceased. 


" The property was conveyed to the Westminster Land Com- 
pany by Sir Richard Nicholson, as Clerk of the Peace for Middlesex, 
by two indentures of February 19th, 1884 ; and the part of the 
prison site which Cardinal Manning had selected as the new site 
for the cathedral was conveyed to the Cardinal and others by the 
company at its cost price of £55,000 by a deed of the same date. 
In payment for the site thus purchased of the company, the 
Cardinal conveyed to the company the old cathedral site at a 
valuation of £35,000 ; and the balance he paid in money obtained 
by a mortgage of the new site, 

" The old cathedral site was re-sold by the Company in February 
1885 to the Building Securities Company, and the remainder of 
the prison site was disposed of in the same year to Mr. F. A. 
Blaydes. The last meeting of the Westminster Land Company 
was held on October 13th, 1886, and the company was then 

" The undertaking upon which the company courageously 
entered by the desire of the Cardinal might, through the uncertain- 
ties of land speculations, especially at that time, have involved 
them in heavy loss ; but happily their enterprise had a successful 
and profitable result. In acknowledgment of their success, the 
company in May 1885 made two gifts to the Cardinal of £1,000 
each, which he at once set apart toward paying off the £20,000 
mortgage on the new site. Also, from the same motive, two or 
more of the shareholders gave personal offerings to the Cardinal 
for the Cathedral Fund." 

After the great effort to pay off the debt on the old site, and to 
exchange it for a better, it will be readily understood how bitter 
was the Cardinal's disappointment that the cathedral promised 
in 1882 never became a reality. The architectural conditions 
imposed by the would-be benefactor rendered his offer unfor- 
tunately impossible of acceptance. Resignation was, however, 
aUied in the Cardinal's mind to the satisfaction of knowing that 
he had kept his word and done all that in him lay to promote the 
scheme to which he became pledged in 1865. " Some thousands 


of pounds are given, and others left, for the building," he wrote 
in a note in his Journals dated 1878 — 1882 ; and he continued 
prophetically : " My successor may begin to build a cathedral. I 
have often said the Cardinal's death bought the land ; perhaps 
mine will begin the building." 

The following details of the past history of this land have been 
gleaned from historians of old London : 

" Tothill Fields ^ were, within three centuries, part of a marshy 
tract of land lying between Mill Bank^and Westminster Abbey, on 
which were a few scattered buildings, some of which were the resi- 
dences of noble personages." This great salt-water lagoon formed 
by the Thames had centuries earlier been reclaimed in part by the 
monks, who were brought there and settled on Thorney (or Bramble) 
Island by King Edgar, acting under the influence of St. Dunstan. 
For these twelve Glastonbury monks the King erected monastic 
buildings, and restored the Church of St. Peter, which had suffered 
seriously from the recent Danish raids. He further gave the new 
community by way of endowment all the land lying between the 
Fleet and the Tyburn east and west, and between the Thames and 
what is now Oxford Street, north and south. The Fleet and the 
Tyburn were of course both tributary streams of London's river. 
The actual site of the cathedral was under water, and was known 
then as Bulinga Fen. 

In the reign of Henry III the fields were dry land, for the 
Abbot of Westminster in the thirty-fourth year of that monarch's 
reign obtained " leave to keep a markett in the Tuthill every 
Munday, and a faire every yeare, for three days," says Mr. 
Walford,^ and he informs us that " royal solemnities and goodly 
jousts " were held here in 1236, after the coronation of Eleanor, 
Queen of Henry HI. This fair, called St. Magdalen's because it 
was celebrated on her feast day, was held on the place where 
Westminster Cathedral now stands. Two centuries later " appeals 

''■ Archer, Vestiges of Old London, text to Plate XIX. 
' Old and New London, vol. iv, p. 14. 



by combat " were fought in the fields, and later again, in the seven- 
teenth century, people used to flock to a " maze " there, and gener- 
ally to these fields for pleasure and recreation, " in the summer time 
in fair afternoons." They were used as a burial ground more than 
once in the seventeenth century, says the same author ; the 
Scottish prisoners — some 1,200 — taken at the battle of Worcester 
were buried there, and a few years later many of those who died 
of the plague found therein their last resting-place. 

In the seventeenth century, too, they were a celebrated duelling 
ground ; later were used from time to time for bull-baiting ; and 
as late as 1793 a famous bear garden existed. Says Mr. Walford : 
" There is extant a curious etching, by Hollar, of Tothill Fields as 
they were in the time of Charles I. They appear to be a dead 
level broken only by a clump of trees in the centre, forming a sort 
of maze. The foreground is broken by a row of slight terraces, not 
unlike the ' butts ' ; and some ladies are promenading leisurely, 
dressed in the fashionable costume of the day." The fields retained 
their solitary and uncultivated character (with a group of lonely 
cottages in their midst) to a large degree till 1810, when the period 
of their development was ushered in by the construction of the 
iron bridge at Vauxhall, now superseded by a new granite 

Old Tothill Fields Bridewell, or " house of correction " for 
indolent paupers and vagrants, was built originally in 1618 on a 
plot of ground on the west side of Artillery Place, leading into 
Victoria Street; enlarged and altered in 1655, it was converted, in 
the reign of Queen Anne, into a prison for criminals also. In 1826 
an Act of Parliament gave powers for the erection of a new and 
larger prison, and a fresh site was chosen, consisting of eight acres 
of land on the western side of the Green Coat School and close to 
Vauxhall Bridge Road. The cost of this site in 1826 was £16,000 : 
it is interesting to note that its value had, in the ensuing sixty years, 
increased about sevenfold. Cardinal Manning paying £55,000 for 
half of it in 1884. 

The prison, built on the Panopticon plan, was completed and 


opened in 1834 at a cost of £186,000, the old prison being pulled 
down, and its contents transferred to the new one in 1836, All 
classes of convicted prisoners were received there till 1850, but 
after that date it was used only for women and for males under 
seventeen years of age. At first admired as a " solid and handsome 
structure " and a " fine specimen of brickwork," it came ultimately 
to be regarded as a costly blunder and as we have shown, the 
Middlesex authorities were glad to rid themselves for ever of the 
burden in 1883. 



" Had I that command of wealth of which we hear so much in 
the present day, I would purchase some of those squalid streets 
in Westminster and clear a great space and build a real cathedral 
where the worship of heaven should be perpetually conducted in 
the full spirit of the ordinances of the Church. I believe, were 
this done, even this country might be saved." 

Thus, in Lothair, wrote Lord Beaconsfield about the time 
that the first cathedral site was purchased ; but the words, with 
the difference that the great clear space was ready to his hand, 
though the wealth hypothecated by the statesman-novelist was 
lacking, might almost have come from the pen of Herbert Cardinal 
Vaughan thirty years later. Called from the see of Salford to 
the archdiocese of Westminster in 1892, he plunged almost 
immediately, and with characteristic vehemence, into the labour 
of cathedral building ; and on taking up the high office, set this 
legacy of his predecessors in the forefront of its responsibilities. 
The cathedral, daily more urgently needed than when the pledge 
for its building was first given to the Catholics of London, was now 
to be the monument and memorial of his two great predecessors, 
" whose services and fame," as he eloquently phrased it, " are 
part of the heritage of the English-speaking peoples of the world." 

Besides the site, fine in position and size, though unfortunately 
encumbered with a mortgage of £20,000, and shut away from the 
main street by tall houses on its western side, Cardinal Vaughan's 
chief assets were unbounded energy and faith, added to a marvel- 
lous capacity for enthusing others, and a supreme confidence, 
under Providence, in the generosity of the Catholic body. Never 


Plate III. — View fbom South- West, looking Nobth-East. 
{Photo, Burns and Oates.) 


Plate IV. — Great West Dook. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



was there a more successful beggar — subsequent chapters will 
show how money rolled at his asking, in almost miraculous fashion, 
into the coffers of the Cathedral Building Fund. 

Happily confident in his power to raise the necessary means, 
he was less certain of his own judgment when the choice of the 
architect and of the style of the building had to be made. In 
the eighteen months that intervened between the date of his 
return from Rome (in the autumn of 1892) and the summer of 
1894, the Cardinal constantly obtained opinions and listened 
to advice from those best qualified for his guidance. The 
discussions were kept private at this early stage ; but, in spite 
of the secrecy necessarily observed, enough leaked out to cause 
about a dozen architects severally to approach the Cardinal 
and lay before him their claims to be chosen for the coveted 
honour. Bentley, of course, equally cognizant of the trend of 
events, was faithful to his lifelong practice of waiting for work 
to come to him, and lifted not a finger on his own behalf ; 
though certain of his friends, who had the Cardinal's ear, were 
actively and anxiously pressing his cause. 

The Cardinal at length decided that the cathedral designs 
should be open to competition — a course that would have dealt 
the death-blow to the hopes of Bentley's supporters, for, to quote 
one of them : " He hated competition, and more than once told 
me he did not approve of the principle and moreover thought 
that the results were always unsatisfactory. He disdained the 
honour of rivalry." But, fortunately, before the Cardinal's 
decision was irrevocably announced, Bentley, asked if he would 
compete, had given a point-blank refusal. To Cardinal Vaughan, 
who hoped by this means to satisfy the many rival claimants^ 
while giving to the best man the supreme chance, Bentley's 
definite negative came as a blow. To him as the intimate 
associate of Manning's work at Bayswater and Westminster for 
so many years, Bentley's productions as an ecclesiastical architect 
must have been well known, and from the fact that the com- 
petitive idea was then dropped, it would seem that he had 


decided personal leanings towards Bentley as the architect for 
the cathedral. Indeed, he wrote to his secretary, the late Mr. 
Austin Gates, under date July 5th : " The Finance Board and 
others want me to appoint the architect without competition — in 
that case I shall choose Bentley, I think. But there will be many 
heartburnings." Ten days later he said he had considered the 
question of a competition very anxiously and carefully : " The 
ultimate result is to appoint Bentley — all agree on Bentley," ' 
Thus before taking the final step, it had occurred to his Eminence 
to take a consensus of opinion among the leading English architects. 
When asked personally and individually to name the member of 
their profession best fitted to be entrusted with the building of 
the cathedral, they gave the palm with generous unanimity to 
John Francis Bentley. 

This generosity on the part of his professional brethren gave 
him the keenest pleasure ; for always, theirs was the only approval 
and criticism that truly affected him, or that he ever really 
valued. That he was kept by friends well in touch with all 
that was going on, though himself studiously in the background, 
is shown by the following private letter : 

"Jvlyb, 1894. 

" Dear Bentley, 

" I look upon it as more than probable that you will be 
offered the cathedral ; at the F.C to-day, his Eminence asked 
what the feeling was as to competition : this was scouted, and 
a unanimous opinion expressed that it ought to go to you. His 
Eminence evidently pleased to be backed by so strong an ex- 
pression. I think he has been told so by several other people, 
among others, he says, by two architects who would have hked 
to have been selected. The fear of offending the body of Catholic 
architects by making a selection seems to have given way to a 
bolder feeling. Your decision to go and study the basilica in 

1 Life, of Cardinal V'aughan, by J. G. Snead-Cox, vol. ii, p. 330. 
' Finance Committee. 


its own native haunts has quite taken the Cardinal's fancy. . . 
I feel nearly certain it will be yours. . . ." 

Bentley ventured, after this, to mention, in conversation 
with two or three of his most intimate friends, the probable 
good fortune awaiting him. Rather less than a fortnight after 
the above date, the Cardinal called at his office to announce 
his appointment as architect of Westminster Cathedral. After- 
wards relating the interview with simplicity and some emotion 
to a friend, he said : " I thanked the Cardinal, who replied : 
' You are not to thank me ; it is your fellow architects you have 
to thank ! ' " 

Thus, in his fifty-sixth year, and after thirty strenuous and 
selfless years devoted to the uplifting of ecclesiastical archi- 
tecture in this country, came the unique opportunity of his life, 
to which was stintlessly devoted its brief remaining span. 

As rapidly as the days full of work and busy preparations 
would allow, he wrote to announce to old friends the good news. 
To Mr. Charles Hadfield, the architect, of Sheffield, and one of the 
first friends among that devoted little coterie at Bentley's chambers 
in the early 'sixties, he wrote at once. 

" 13, John Street, Adelphi, 

" 19 July, 1894. 

" Dear Hadfield, 

" Just a word to say that, to my surprise, the designing 
of the new cathedral is to be entrusted to me. Some time ago 
I was asked if I would take part in a competition, to which I 
replied emphatically ' No.' 

" Since I first heard of the scheme I purposely avoided the 
Cardinal, and when you were in town ' last, I knew nothing of 
it, save that a dozen or more architects had written asking to 
be allowed to enter the lists, and that some of the dozen were 
individually urging all the powers at their disposal to influence 

* Mr. Hadfield called at 13, John Street on July 2nd. 


the Cardinal in their favour. I trust you are busy and well. 
With kind regards to your wife and children, 

" Always sincerely yours, 

" John F. Bentley." 

The rejoicing and warm congratulations of all his friends 
were voiced in Mr. Hadfield's immediate reply. He wrote on 
July 20t.h : 

" Dear Bentley, 

" Just a line of hearty congratulation on the glorious news 
in your letter this morning. The fact of your selection as archi- 
tect will be matter of sincerest pleasure to all your old friends, 
and to none more so than myself — and I need not add that if 
my dear father ' had been alive he would have been to the fore 
in wishing you health, strength, and every success in carrying 
out the work, which will be, let us hope, a great Catholic land- 
mark in the history of this wonderful nineteenth century. 

" ' All comes to him who waits.' You have had many a 
disappointment, but at last the reward has come. I am glad 
to say I was not one of the ' Touting Twelve.' 

" The Cardinal's action will gratify all thinking men who 
appreciate intellect and true art. I hope and trust it will be 
' Ring out the false, ring in the true '• — and Catholic art should 
flourish the better for the change. . . . 

" W^ith best regards and good wishes to your wife and self, 

" I am always sincerely yours, 

" C. Hadfield." 

A phrase in the letter of July 5th, already quoted, shows that 
the decision against a Gothic cathedral had been taken before 
the architect was chosen. Bentley had been hitherto a " Gothic 
man," both by education, predilection, and necessity ; but that 
the Christian architecture of the near east held some attraction , 

' Bentley had looked upon Mr. Matthew Hadfield as a father : his own having died 
in 1856, within a short time of his son's departure from Doucatjter to study in Loudon. 


for him in the early years of his practice will be shown in Vol. II 
of this book. As far back as the early 'sixties the study of By- 
zantine work was no new thing to him ; his early designs for 
decoration, glass, church plate, and so on were influenced by it to 
some degree, and he was enthusiastic also about the Romanesque 
architecture of Burgundy and Provence, of the Rhine and of 
North Italy. The opportunity to develop its possibihties had 
heretofore been wanting ; and at first it was not entirely welcome 
when it came. "Personally," said he later, "I should have 
preferred a Gothic church ; yet, on consideration, I am inclined 
to think that the Cardinal was right." 

He was, however, entirely in disagreement with the Cardinal 
and those of his advisers who wished for a basilica church of the 
Italian type, and brought his most powerful arguments to bear 
against the adoption of a style for which he could feel neither 
interest nor admiration. The Cardinal finally abandoned the 
idea, and accepted Bentley's advice for the choice of the Christian 
Byzantine style. 

The decision evoked some regret from Bentley's friends, and 
a considerable amount of criticism from the many to whom 
Gothic stood essentially for our national heritage of architectural 
style and who were still imbued with the enthusiasms of its 
" Revival." So fiercely raged this new Battle of the Styles that 
the Cardinal thought it prudent, before appealing for funds, 
to set forth clearly the motives that had governed his choice. 
Briefly stated, his reasons were threefold : 

1. A church of this type, with its exceptionally wide nave 
and view of the sanctuary therefrom, unimpeded by columns or 
screen, was without question that best suited to the congregational 
needs of a metropolitan cathedral, where, day by day, the Hours 
of the Church's Office were to be solemnly sung, and her great 
liturgies enacted, in the sight as well as the hearing of the people. 

2. The second weighty reason dealt with the question in its 
financial aspect. The Christian Byzantine style, argued the 
Cardinal, lends itself to an economical and most advantageous 


mode of procedure. We can cover the whole space, we can 
erect the whole building, apart from the decoration and orna- 
ment which in other styles would form a substantial and costly 
part of the structure. In this way the essentials of space and of 
proportion are obtainable at once for a moderate sum. From 
this argument sprang the third. 

3. That it would be impossible to set up a new Gothic cathedral 
in worthy competition with the ancient Abbey church close by 
without an immediate expenditure far in excess of the sum it 
would be prudent to expect from the purses of the Catholic body, 
generous and willing though it might be. It was agreed that it 
would be wiser to avoid the possibility of a comparison detri- 
mental to the cathedral that was to be. 

Referring later to this decision, Bentley again expressed his 
entire agreement with the motives and choice of the Cardinal, 
who thought, " That to build the principal Catholic church in 
England in a style which was absolutely primitive Christian, 
which was not confined to Italy, England, or any other nation, 
but was, up to the ninth century, spread over many countries, 
would be the wisest thing to do." Certainly, as London had long 
been to the world of commerce what Constantinople once was, 
and in the world of Empire held the place that Rome once filled, 
it would seem fitting that the cathedral of the world-metropolis 
should be of a type rather international than limited by any 
national and perhaps insular characteristics of style. 

Bentley, as we have said, had decided to study his subject 
at first hand in Italy and Constantinople before setting to work 
on the cathedral plans. During the summer months he laboured 
strenuously to set his professional house in order, in prepara- 
tion for an absence of several months. Some time had to be 
given to the study of Italian, a tongue quite unknown to him, 
except in so far as Latin might help ; doubtless the knowledge 
was often needed when travelling, as he did, rather off the tracks 
of the ordinary tourist. 

At length, all was ready, and armed with his " Open, Sesame " 


— an open circular letter in Italian, couched in terms highly 
flattering to its bearer, from the Cardinal-Archbishop of West- 
minster to the prelates and clergy of Italy, and others in charge 
of her architectural treasures — he left London on the night of 
November 22nd, 1894, travelling by way of the St. Gothard to 
Milan, the first town in his itinerary. Here the circular letter 
speedily proved its potency, and he was conducted over the 
Duomo, inside and out, by the architect in charge of the fabric, 
with a minvxte and untiring courtesy, ttie while Bentley's tongue 
had much ado to refrain from the pungent criticisms roused 
by the profusely ornate, Germanic Gothic, on which his guide 
expatiated in whole-souled enthusiasm for its multitudinous 
turrets, pinnacles, and statues. 

In the brick-built church of Sant' Ambrogio, founded in the 
fourth century, and as it now stands a Romanesque basilica of 
the twelfth, Bentley found material more to his taste. The 
curious galleries over its fa9ade ; the baldacchino, supported by 
four ancient porphyry columns ; the atrium, in such fine con- 
dition ; and the lofty brick campanile of ninth-century construc- 
tion, alike interested him in a special way, as parts of the first 
building of its type he had yet beheld. He passed on to Pavia 
on December 7th, and was immensely struck with its Certosa — 
" the most sumptuous church I have yet beheld " — the Carthusian 
monastery founded by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1396, when 
the first stone of the Gothic nave was laid. The rest of the church 
and the cloisters were finished in Renaissance style by various 
artists in a period extending over nearly three centuries. 

Pisa was his next resting-place ; in its cathedral of basilican 
type he found Byzantine influences ; a Latin cross in plan, it 
has a single cupola at the intersection of the nave and transepts. 
The arcade of the gallery continues unbrokenly across the tran- 
septs, and it has been thought that the architect, impressed 
by the feature, utilized the idea in the new cathedral. Indeed, the 
Rev. Herbert Lucas, S.J., gives expression to this opinion : " By 
continuing the arcade of the gallery across the transept . . . some- 


what after the manner of the cathedral at Pisa, Mr. Bentley had 
reproduced in a Byzantine building one of the most striking and 
characteristic features of the older Roman timber-roofed basilicas. 
This is the convergence, in perspective, of horizontal lines, 
unbroken by any transept gap, which carry the eye forward 
to its proper resting-place, the altar and the baldacchino." ' As 
a matter of fact Bentley never liked the break in the continuity 
of line caused by open transepts, and for years had in mind the 
advantage of carrying the nave arcading straight on across the 
transepts ; this he had previously done, with excellent results, 
in his Gothic church of the Holy Rood at Watford in 1889, and 
at Corpus Christi, Brixton, earlier. 

The principle on which the architect's journey was planned 
was to visit and study first the best Romanesque churches of 
North and Central Italy, before concentrating on those built 
under Eastern influence in the Adriatic provinces ; unfortunately 
he kept no diary of his travels, and made but few references 
in correspondence to the places visited. It may be supposed, 
therefore, in the absence of direct evidence, that he next 
rested at Lucca with its Romanesque churches of San Michele 
and San Martino, and Pistoia with its cathedral of similar type, 
before proceeding to Florence. Writing from thence on Decem- 
ber 15th (his last day in that city) to an old friend, Mr. Thomas 
C. Lewis, the organ-builder (for whom in forty years he had 
designed as many organ cases), he touched, in his wonted fashion, 
on the subject of most likely interest to his correspondent. 

" One comes across singular things. In regard to organs, 
nearly in all instances when the instrument is not in use, a drop- 
blind covers the pipes, painted sometimes with a scriptural inci- 
dent, or more frequently with a representation of the pipes 
behind. What struck me particularly was that, with scarcely 
an exception, the organ is not boxed up as with us, but placed 
grandly out in the open. Some of the cases are exceedingly 
fine, but as a rule the instruments are sorry, very sorry produc- 

" Article on the cathedral in The Xaverian, May 1910. 


tions. In the great cathedral here, with nave arehes of 65 ft. 
span, I cannot discover the vestige of an organ, although I have 
heard office sung and made a searching examination of the place. 
Such, too, was it at the Certosa of Pavia, the most sumptuous 
church I have yet beheld, but with all its stupendous magnificence 
there was no organ." 

Probably having been familiar with the Duomo at Florence 
in books and plans, he expected little or no pleasure from a closer 
acquaintance, and experienced no disappointment when he 
stigmatized it as " architecturally, the worst large building I 
have ever seen." The Campanile and the Baptistery and the 
many splendid churches and palaces stayed his steps, however 
and a visit to beautiful Fiesole followed, so it was not till the 
middle of December that he arrived in Rome, having previously 
engaged a room at the Grand Hotel. " But," as he afterwards 
humorously told the story, " I was nothing but a number in 
that huge caravanserai, and that means of identification being 
666, the ' Number of the Beast,' was altogether more than I 
could stand ! " He moved very speedily into less magnificent 
quarters in the comfortable little hotel in the Via Bocca di Leone, 
then so well known to, and much frequented by, English 
travellers of the more intellectually interesting type — the Albergo 

Among other English visitors that Christmas was the late 
George Augustus Sala, of whom Bentley used to tell an amusing 
story, illustrative of the rigidity of etiquette at the Vatican. 
The same day was appointed for Sala and Bentley to attend the 
Pope's early Mass. Sala had with him only a dinner-jacket and 
happened to mention the fact to Bentley and others, who assured 
him that a proper dress-coat was essential, and that the other 
would not pass. However, Sala maintained that it would, and 
started forth for the Vatican thus arrayed. When Bentley began 
to ascend the Scala Regia, he beheld his unfortunate compatriot 
in violent gesticulation and protest with the guards on duty, who 
firmly refused to let him pass or to listen to any explanations. 


In his despair and disappointment he appealed to Bentley, who 
advised that Sala, leaving his wife in his care, should make an 
immediate return to the hotel and borrow the dress-coat of the 
proprietor (which he trusted would probably fit his not slender 
proportions) and as hastily return to the Vatican. This Sala did, 
and as mine host of the Inghilterra was kindly disposed, the 
incident terminated happily. But this is a digression in the 
itinerary, and we must return to Bentley's first day in Rome. 

How he entered Rome in the spirit of the pilgrims of old 
(though that spirit in no way veiled his critical artistic perception), 
was told in a letter to Mr. Charles Hadfield, dated December 22nd : 
" The morning after my arrival I made straight for St. Peter's — 
that is, as straight as the meandering ways would allow — not 
looking into any of the many churches I passed on the road, that 
my first act might be one of veneration to him who is the centre 
and keystone of Christian unity. I venerate the place more 
than I can say, and my only regret is that the human part of it 
is not more worthy of so august a purpose. Architecturally, I 
think it the worst large building I have seen, excepting, perhaps, 
the Duomo at Florence, and I cannot conceive that any architect 
can ' sing its praises.' Of course the effect is fine, very fine, but 
produced at the sacrifice of scale." 

The six weeks Bentley spent in the Eternal City were filled 
with pleasant and profitable incidents by the numerous friends 
and acquaintances who hastened to show him attention and 
kindness. Writing New Year's greetings to an old friend, Mr. 
John Montefiore of Streatham (their warm friendship had ripened 
from acquaintance made at the Exhibition of 1862), he speaks of 
the splendid welcome received. " My wanderings until I reached 
Rome were somewhat lonely. Directly my arrival was announced 
callers came and invitations followed, so that I have had many 
pleasant interruptions during my short stay here. The Rector 
of the Scotch College, Monsignor Campbell, actually spent a whole 
day with me in the Catacombs of St. Callistus and St. Lucina, 
describing their history and explaining the many objects of 


interest which they contain, and as he, now de Rossi is dead, 
knows more on the subject than any other Hving man, the treat 
was a rare one. But this is only a type of the many kindnesses 
either conferred or promised." 

Monsignor Stonor, Archbishop of Trebizond, the true friend 
of all his compatriots visiting Rome ; Monsignor Stanley, who 
later became Bishop of Emmaus, and Bishop Assistant to Cardinal 
Vaughan in the last months of his life, and who, referring to 
this visit, says : " The time I spent with him in Rome was very 
delightful ; how tolerant he was of my occasional presumptuous 
difference of opinion with him ! " ; and Father Douglas, the Father- 
General of the Redemptorists, figured prominently among the 
many to whom the architect afterwards acknowledged his 
gratitude for many courtesies received. 

Christmas Day, spent in Rome, was for him a day of mingled 
joy and sadness. In the morning he was at St. Peter's, and 
passed the afternoon at the church high on the Capitoline Hill, 
the Church of Ara Coeli, being much touched and charmed by 
the child preachers, who, as of ancient custom, were delivering 
their little sermons on the Nativity to their companions of like 
age. The sadness of the home-lover found expression in a letter 
to England : " I missed being at home : indeed it was a broken 
link in the chain of happy memories. At dinner there was a 
toast to all friends and those dear to us which almost brought 
tears to my eyes." 

By his friends' good offices he obtained a greatly desired 
private audience with Pope Leo XIII. He was present first at 
the early Mass said by the Pontiff, who received him at its con- 
clusion with characteristic and paternal charm, and holding the 
architect's hands closely within his own long frail fingers, ques- 
tioned and talked to him in French for about ten minutes, finally 
blessing in a special manner the great cathedral which was ta 
take shape in his brain. Later, Bentley attended the impressive 
annual Requiem for Pope Pius IX in the Sistine Chapel, a seat 
next to the Cardinals' being allotted to him. 


In such pleasant ways, intermingled with much serious study 
of Pagan and early Christian art, the month of January passed. 
He remarks in a brief note to Mr. C. Hadfield : " The number of 
callers during my stay in Rome were many, indeed too many ; all 
the colleges were open to me, and I had only to express a wish to 
see the things closed to the public and at once I received an order." 

Thus were summed up the disappointing results of this 
thorough exploration of the city : 

" My impression of Rome is that it is almost a modern city 
like Turin, dating from about the middle of the sixteenth century, 
with a great number of dreadful churches, mostly filled with 
accessories and decorations without the least Christian significance. 
Certainly I saw little, excepting, of course, the earlier work of 
which there are only a few examples left, that made any impres- 
sion on me. Italian detail is the most thoughtless, brainless stuff 
I have ever seen. . . . Indeed the worst building I have ever seen 
is St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.^ . . . Happily the little left of 
the Early Christian work and the ruins of Imperial Rome more 
than occupied my attention and thought." 

Bentley's stay of six weeks in Rome had been prolonged 
beyond his intention by Cardinal Vaughan's desire that he should 
await his arrival. At the end of January he spent a week in 
Naples, of course visiting Pompeii and climbing Vesuvius. In 
the comfortable light of retrospect, he could afterwards relate 
with humour the discomforts of that expedition. Having en- 
gaged a guide and arranged with him to procure a horse, two 
American tourists, who also wished to make the ascent, asked 
permission to join him and share the guide's services. Their 
company was considerably against Bentley's inclination, but 
politeness forbade a refusal, and the guide was instructed to 
produce three horses. He was within the trattoria at the base 
of the mountain paying for the meal of spaghetti his guide had 
just consumed, when the horses were brought round^three as 

' He had ovideiitly boon forced to relegate the Daorao at Florence to the second 
worst place in this crescendo of bad construction and false taste ! 


sorry nags as ever laboured in the shafts of an Italian cab. When 
Bentley emerged, he discovered that the Americans had made 
hasty annexation of the two least unhappy-looking mounts, but 
being a Doncaster man, and therefore presumably not without 
some useful knowledge of horse-flesh (though he had not ridden 
for many years), he without comment apparently resigned himself 
to the third animal. 

As they started up the mountain the guide drew close to 
his side to murmur that his companions were not as clever as 
they thovight, and would soon find it out ! And so it happened ; 
for soon he had the slightly malicious satisfaction of passing 
them and rapidly left them labouring heavily along, and finally 
quite out of sight. It was bitterly cold and snowy and a most 
difficult ascent to the crater, for the railway was, naturally, 
not working at that season. The roughness of the going, com- 
bined with his mount's peculiar and uncomfortable action, made 
all movement a weariness of the flesh for many subsequent 
days. How the tourists fared was never learned, for he did 
not see them again. 

Bentley returned to Rome in the first week of February, to 
take leave of friends and continue his journey in a north-easterly 
direction. To the country hallowed by his second patron, St. 
Francis of Assisi, were his steps first bent. No letters remain to 
record his impressions at this shrine of faith and art ; though 
his moving enthusiasm in speaking of its glories is well remem- 
bered. Thence on to Perugia, the city in the hills of Umbria, 
in the bitterest winter weather within the memory of its oldest 
inhabitant, the snow being piled six feet on each side of the 
streets. Although the traveller suffered severely from the cold, 
in unwarmed churches and comfortless hotels, he pursued the 
journey and continued to study with unabated ardour. Here 
there was much to interest him, from the fourteenth and fifteenth 
century Gothic cathedral of San Lorenzo to the sixth-century 
circular church of S. Angelo, containing sixteen antique columns 
in its interior. 


From Perugia he pushed on to the Ravenna district, " a flat, 
low, marshy plain, then covered with snow from two to four feet 
deep, but a most interesting part of the country." The ancient 
and splendid churches of the Adriatic seaboard, prototypes of the 
cathedral that was to rise in a northern city in that they alike 
emanated from the first phase of distinctly Christian architecture, 
were now to delight Bentley's aesthetic sense, weary of the mere- 
tricious tinsel from which it had so frequently hitherto suffered. 

In the sixth-century church of S. Vitale, completed by Jus- 
tinian, regularly octagonal in plan, with a small apsidal choir 
extended on the eastern side ; and in that of S. Apollinare-in-Classe 
of similar date and history, he began to study the problem of 
adapting the Byzantine idea to modern congregational require- 
ments. The latter stands in the lonely marshes outside Ravenna, 
and has nave and aisles carried out by the Byzantine artists 
on Roman models. This atmosphere of the long-past ages of the 
great period of Ravenna's constructive activity into which he 
seemed to be transported was expressed by the man who drove 
him out to S. Apollinare-in-Classe — supremely reverent for the 
churches and tombs of these far-away centuries, his scorn for 
later productions was withering. The architect, as they drove 
along, was carrying on a conversation as well as his rather halting 
Italian would permit ; and pointing out a church near the road 
he inquired its name. " Ah, signor," came the reply, " that 
would not interest you ; it is not worth your while ; it is quite 
modern." A further question elicited that it dated from the 
eleventh century ! 

Returning to Ravenna on this occasion Bentley had an un- 
pleasant experience. Midway the horses stopped and refused 
to proceed ; and he had almost resigned himself to the idea of 
walking three or four miles through two feet and more of snow, 
by the time that they were at length induced to move. 

He reached Bologna by February 18th, where the brick church 
pf S. Stefano and the unfinished Municipal Palace of the sixteenth 
century appear to have interested him most. Ferrara was 


Plate V. — Window of West Tribune and Balcony ovkk .Majn Entrance 

[Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


^^ -■^^■'^-^ 

PLATE; VI. — South Half of West Window of Nave, with Tkibune V^aultino. 

{Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



visited en route to Venice, to see its important twelfth-century 
cathedral ; and he arrived in the city of the Doges, at length, 
utterly exhausted with cold and travelling. Writing home on 
March 4th he said : " I cannot tell you how thankful I am that 
I have passed through my recent journey ings without the least 
ill results, though on my first arrival here a little more than a 
week ago, I don't think I ever felt so tired in my life." In another 
letter he spoke of being in a semi-frozen state, and implied that 
a serious chill had probably been averted by the hot bath and 
fourteen hours of uninterrupted sleep taken on reaching Venice. 

A minute study of the basilica of St. Mark's was begun as 
soon as the necessary repose had refreshed him in mind and 
body. Professor Lethaby and Mr. H. Swainson's book on Jus- 
tinian's great church of Sancta Sophia, then just published, was 
his companion at this time, in preparation for the projected visit 
to Constantinople, when his studies in St. Mark's should be com- 
pleted. News came that cholera was very seriously epidemic there 
at the moment and he was at length prevailed on by the urgent 
representations of friends in Venice to realize that the risk was 
too great and to abandon the idea. It was a disappointment, but 
when condoled with, on his return, at not being able to finish 
the itinerary, he remarked : " San Vitale at Ravenna and 
Lethaby's book really told me all I wanted." 

The intimate knowledge of St. Mark's then acquired was 
increased later, but only about a year before his death, by the 
purchase of Ongania's detailed and monumental work.' Torcello, 
with its Early Christian foundations of a bishop's throne in the 
cathedral apse, and some early mosaics ; and Padua, now bust- 
lingly commercial, the city of the ancient famous university, 
with its seven-cupolaed basilica of the thirteenth century dedi- 
cated to St. Anthony, were both visited from Venice, which he 
finally quitted, turning his face homewards, on March 7th. 
Verona marked the first stage, to examine San Zenone, an impor- 
tant and interesting example of Lombardic construction of the 

' St. Mark's, Venice. Venice, 1881, etc. 


twelfth century, with severely simple facade and detached square 
campanile, finished with a pyramidal roof. 

At Turin, reached the following day, his stay was of the 
briefest, since this modern commercial city had little of interest 
to offer him. The journey to Paris was broken at Dijon, probably 
as much to see the church of Notre Dame, typical of good Bur- 
gundian Gothic of the thirteenth and early fourteenth century, as the 
Romanesque crypt beneath the thirteenth-century cathedral of St. 
Benigne. A few days were spent in Paris, to renew the recollections 
of twenty years before, and on March 19th he arrived in London, 
safe and sound and none the worse for his many journeyings. 

Immediately plans and sketches of the cathedral as it was 
already matured in his brain were prepared and submitted to the 
Cardinal — and preparations went forward apace for the laying of 
the first stone. The Feast day of the Apostles St. Peter and 
St. Paul being chosen for the event, two committees were formed 
to carry out the necessarily heavy preparations, one composed 
chiefly of churchmen to take charge of the liturgical portion, 
another chiefly of laymen to arrange for the seating accommoda- 
tion, the issuing of tickets, and the luncheon which was to follow 
the ceremony. On the architect lay the onus of preparing the 
site and all working details of the stone-laying. He wrote to a 
friend on June 8th : " The first stone-laying is to be made much 
of, and it is generally thought that it will be the greatest Catholic 
event of the century. The tickets are, I believe, out, but 
although I am on the committee of the mundane portion of the 
function I have not yet seen one. For reserved seats, 105. Qd., 
and for the luncheon, 10s. 6d., are the prices fixed." 

Stands were erected north and south on the site to seat about 
2,500 persons ; while a large portion of the western end was 
open as standing-room to persons paying a shilling for admission. 
With the large numbers who occupied adjacent balconies and roofs 
it was estimated that over 10,000 persons must have witnessed 
the ceremony, the account of which has already been related in 
the opening chapter of this book. 



Bentley returned from Italy steeped in Byzantine art, with- 
out any sketches or written notes : it was never his habit to make 
either ; nevertheless he brought back, clear and definite in his 
mind's eye, a vivid presentment of the cathedral he meant to 
build. All through life he had taken pains to cultivate, to a 
remarkable degree, this gift of interior vision, never setting pencil 
to paper till his subject had arrived at complete mental develop- 
ment. "Everything," he would say, " the reality as though 
before me solidly — light and shade, colour, all is there — and not 
until I see this in its entirety do I ever begin to draw." 

Very swiftly these formulated ideas were poured out on paper, 
and about six weeks after his return to London the Tablet of 
May 4th, 1895, announced that " as a tentative and suggestive 
project, Mr. Bentley has sent in two admirable ground plans, 
recalling to some extent features to be found in the great churches 
of Sant' Ambrogio, San Vitale, and San Marco." Apart from the 
exigencies of the site, of which we will speak later, six essential 
and primary requirements were the factors dominating and 
shaping the plan in its main lines. These determinants, both 
liturgical and congregational, were : (1) A sanctuary and choir 
sufficiently spacious for the ceremonial needs of a metropolitan 
see ; (2) a nave of generous breadth with an uninterrupted view 
of the sanctuary to render it ideal for the reception of great 
multitudes on ceremonial occasions, for which obviously the 
metropolitan cathedral must be specially adapted ; (3) aisles 
appropriate for processional purposes, and to give access to the 
side chapels with particular dedications ; (4) some adequate 


4 «1 r 



place reserved for the use of the monks who, according to the first 
arrangements for the service of the cathedral, were to sing there 
daily the Hours of the Church's Office ; (5) a crypt for the inter- 
ment of the Archbishops of Westminster ; (6) a campanile or 
bell-tower. In addition, of course, it would be required to make 

lavish provision in the matter of 
sacristies and ofiices for the perfect 
service of a great church. 

It will, we think, be interesting 
to recall the architect's original ideas 
by comparing these two plans with 
each other and with that ultimately 
adopted. No. 1, though undated, is 
doubtless that first produced ; it 
provides for two campanili in the 
western elevation, while at the south- 
western corner a domed baptistery 
projects in a semi-circular curve be- 
yond the line of the facade. The 
main entrance has two doorways 
opening into a spacious triple porch ; 
the central and largest portion, for 
the use of the Archbishop and clergy 
on ceremonial occasions, giving ac- 
cess to the narthex by two more 
entrances opposite ; while to right 
and left are doors leading to the 
smaller porches for the laity, which 
also give on to the narthex. This 
narthex, opening into the nave, runs the entire width of the 
building from north to south. The two first bays of the nave 
differ in no way from the final plan ; but in the third bay and 
transepts the divergence is very marked. In the first place there 
is no continuity of the nave arcading at the crossing, the tran- 
septs, with this third bay, showing an unbroken floor space from 

Fig. 1.— First tentative Plan fob 
Westminsteb Cathedeai. 


north to south ; secondly, the transepts terminate laterally in 
apsidal form. We note also that the pulpit is built here against 
the north-east pier of the crossing. The small staircases to the 
roof levels outside in this plan appear at the west side of the 
transepts instead of at the east, as they actually are in the 
present arrangement. 

Proceeding to compare the arrangement at the east end, we 
find that the high altar stands, not under the fourth dome, 
but, as at St. Mark's, Venice, in the apse beyond : a tri-apsal 
termination, with its column-borne exedrse, reminiscent of that 
of Sancta Sophia. Beyond the apse, following its form and 
continuing round the large chapels to right and left of the choir, 
runs an ambulatory connected with the transepts by openings in 
their eastern walls. This passage serves also to connect the 
sacristies with the church. The large chapels referred to above 
are not divided from the choir by aisles as in the adopted plan, but 
communicate directly with it through arched openings between 
the supports of the sanctuary tribunes. The high altar, which 
is double, as in the Church of St. Francis at Assisi, stands beneath 
a square baldacchino, while within the curves of the exedrse are 
shown the credence table or prothesis, on the north side of the 
bema, or sanctuary, and the diakonikon (table for vestments) on 
the south side. 

There are three sacristies in this first scheme ; that for priests, 
with an altar, being at the south-east angle of the church and in 
connection with it through the ambulatory, whence a short flight 
of steps leads to the sanctuary level. Two more sacristies (one for 
working purposes) and a number of offices are arranged at the 
north-east angle, and have a lobby and street entrance. 

It will of course be at once observed that the idea of the crypt, 
beneath a raised retro-choir, has not been entertained in this 
plan. The decision to appropriate the eastern termination to the 
choir, and to bring forward the sanctuary, coupled with the archi- 
tect's dissatisfaction with the complicated external arrangement 
at the east end and his dislike of the open transeptal arrangement. 


led to the preparation of the second suggestion (dated June 1895, 
though presumably its rough draft was submitted to the Cardinal 
in May). This approaches more closely to the cathedral as we 
know it. One campanile has been dispensed Math, though that 
remaining still forms part of the fayade, in proximity to the 
western entrance. To quote Cardinal Vaughan with regard to 

this drastic change, 
and indeed, to the 
general attitude he 
believed he had 
always maintained 
towards the archi- 
tect : " Having," 
he said, " laid down 
certain conditions 
as to size, space, 
chapels, and style, 
I left the rest to 
him. He offered me 
the choice between 
a vaulted roof and 
one of saucer-shaped 
domes : I chose the 
latter. He wished 
to build two cam- 
paniles ; I said one 
would be enough 
for me. For the rest 
he had a free hand." 
The square campanile in this case covers a rather larger area 
and together with the contiguous wall of the nortli-wcst entrance 
to the narthex, projects some distance beyond the line of the main 
entrance ; while at the other end of the facade the baptistery is 
somewhat recessed, having exteriorly lost its apsidal termina- 
tion. The position of the second campanile is now occupied by a 

Fig. 2. — Second tentative Plan foe Westminster 


turret, with a spiral staircase, and the arrangement of the porches 
is more open. The narthex no longer occupies the full width of the 
church, but ends on one side at the baptistery and on the other at 
the north-west entrance lobby ; it has also acquired the form of 
domed cubicles at the points of junction with the aisles. Pro- 
ceeding into the nave, we find the four chapels on the north side 
as before, whereas, on the south, the two westernmost have been 
amalgamated to form one large chapel. It was intended to make 
this the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, with an entrance — at the end 
adjacent to the baptistery — from the cloisters which, parallel with 
this side of the church, were to connect it with Archbishop's House, 
designed to occupy this position at its right-hand or south side. 
A second cloister entrance will be noted in the corresponding 

The main piers of the nave have varied their form, having 
semi-circular niches on their aisle sides, while the corresponding 
chapel piers are similarly recessed. The transepts have lost their 
apsidal ends, and that on the north is provided with an imposing 
entrance and lobby ; while, most important change of all, the 
nave arcading is carried in an unbroken line across the transepts, 
the open gallery being continued in the fashion of a bridge sup- 
ported on each side by coupled columns. This unbroken repetition 
of parts produces the vista and the impression of length and height 
that, as we have already pointed out, Bentley so greatly admired. 
The great chapels at the east end are now divided from the sanctuary 
by aisles, leading to the stairways, which give access to the gal- 
leries and higher levels, and to the crypt below. The high altar 
with its square baldacchino has been advanced to its present place 
under the sanctuary dome, while the apse, having lost the triple 
curve, exedrse and ambulatory, now becomes the place of the 
raised retro-choir, approached by a single flight of steps behind the 
high altar. Beneath this choir the apse contains a crypt, with 
places for the tombs of the two archbishops in the same relative 
position as that occupied by the high altar above. The chapel 
south of the sanctuary (here dedicated to St. Peter) has also an 


aisle or processional way leading to the sacristies ; the priests' 
sacristy and the outer sacristy are on the ground floor, while an 
exit from the latter leads to the staircase, to the working sacristies, 
and offices on the crypt level. The chapel north of the sanctuary 
has a corresponding narrow external aisle, which, however, ter- 
minates apsidally and is intended for a shrine. 

Having thus briefly reviewed the variations and developments 
in the first sketch plans, we will now proceed to describe that of the 
cathedral as it stands ; and as far as may be it shall be done in the 
architect's own words. In January 1896 was published the first 
number of The Westminster Cathedral Record, a magazine which 
aimed at fulfilling a threefold function. The idea of the Cardinal 
was to furnish thereby a means of making the new cathedral and 
its ideal more widely known, a bulletin of its progress, and a 
chronicle of its history. It was designed to appear quarterly, and 
in its pages the architect from time to time disclosed the develop- 
ment of his plan and published a minute record of work achieved. 
To the historian of the cathedral this magazine has been 
invaluable, and indeed without it the writing of its early story 
would have been wellnigh impossible. Unfortunately the death 
of Cardinal Vaughan in 1903 ended its brief career : the eleventh 
and last number with his final and touching appeal for financial 
help had come from the press in June 1902. 

The cathedral had no journal for the next four and a half 
years, till in January 1907 The Westminster Cathedral Chronicle, 
under the editorship of the Administrator, Monsignor Canon 
Howlett, took up the tale and carries on the traditions of its pre- 
decessor. The Record was well illustrated with plans and sections 
and photographs of the works ; and in the first issue appears the 
second tentative plan we have just described, with the difference 
that it shows four chapels laterally to both nave aisles. Curiously, 
the descriptive article from the architect's pen describes essentially 
the third and final plan, which by then had been adopted. The 
accompanying plans of the churches to which he refers served 
to illustrate his remarks. 


" Of the genesis and growth of church architecture httle is 
known till the close of the reign of Diocletian ; but that it had 
its origin in Syria and Asia Minor, and that it gradually extended 
and developed is certain, till it culminated at Constantinople 
during the reign of Justinian. AVhen Christianity was proclaimed 
the religion of the State and the seat of Empire removed to Byzan- 
tium, locally this development received a check. No sooner had 
Constantine taken possession of his new capital, than he began to 
erect the church afterwards dedicated to the apostles, on the model 
of the churches he had already built in Rome, following closely 
the style and plan of the pagan basilica. In the subsequent reign 
the first Church of St. Sophia was raised under the same influence, 
emphatically indicating that the newcomers had brought with them 
ideas strange and foreign to the Hellenic mind. But this inter- 
ruption was of short duration ; the traditions of the age and place 
speedily reasserted themselves, and remained dominant for ages 
long following the erection by Justinian of that marvellous creation 
so fittingly dedicated to the Eternal Wisdom ; that wondrous ex- 
pression in material form of the apocalyptic vision of the Heavenly 
Temple — the second Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople. 

" The characteristic features of this, the Byzantine style, are 
simple roofs, flat domes rising from square spaces and carried on 
massive piers, unbroken arched soffits, and barrel vaults ; the 
interiors were often clad with marble of rich patterns and many 
colours, and mosaics depicting stories from the life of our Lord 
and His Saints covered the ceiling and walls. The lighting gener- 
ally is from windows placed high up in the building, and not in- 
frequently in the domes. Lattices, from accounts given by ancient 
writers, filled the larger openings, though unfortunately few 
examples now exist. Unlike the basilica churches, columns take 
quite a subordinate position and are seldom employed construction- 
ally. Galleries are a constant feature, and were set apart for the 
use of women, like the curtained-off aisles in the early Roman 
churches. What gives the building of this period a pre-eminence 
and a greater interest over any other, is that it was the first phase 


Fig. 3. — SS. Sergius and Bac. 
CHTJS, Constantinople. 

of Christian art ; that it expressed in 
full the hallowed genius of Christianity, 
and was the outcome of a sensitive, 
aesthetic people, inspired by the Seer 
of Patmos." 

It has already been observed that 
in the early 'sixties Bentley was in- 
fluenced by and was an enthusiastic 
student of Byzantine art and its direct 
outcome, the Romanesque architecture 
of Burgundy, Provence, the Rhine, and 
Northern Italy, Obedient to the Car- 
dinal's wish for a church in this style, 
he had gone to southern Europe to 
steep in and saturate himself anew with 
the Byzantine spirit and, despite the long years of faithful alle- 
giance to the Gothic ideal, he now found himself aglow at the 
opportunity of developing 
and carrying on the Jus- 
tinian tradition. It was, 
as a kindly critic of his 
work once said, " as though 
an English writer should 
produce at the close of his 
life a masterpiece of French 

Describing the plan of 
his cathedral, he continues : 
" It may be stated that 
the arrangement is not 
that of an Eastern church 
of the Justinian period, 
but rather an example of 
what might have been un- 
folded had not the deca- j-io. 4.— San vitale, ravenna. 



dence of the Roman Empire terminated the growth of congrega- 
tional requirements in the East. From a glance at the plan of 
SS. Sergius and Bacchus, Constantinople (page 44), or of S. Vitale, 
Ravenna (page 44), both of about the same age, it is evident that 
they were arranged from a liturgical rather than a congregational 
while the 
church of St. 
Mark, Venice, 
nearly four 
centuri e s 
later, in- 
dicates a 
marked ad- 
vance in the 
latter direc- 
tion, showing 
clearly the 
course the 
was taking. 

"On ap- 
proaching the 
precincts o f 
the cathedral 
from Victoria 
Street at the 
angle of the 
site will be 

seen the campanile rising to an altitude of some 300 ft." and [facing^ 
the visitor] the western entrance ^ included in a composition ex- 

' It is actually 273 ft. high and 284 ft. to the top of the cross. 

- For explanatory purposes the church is assvuned throughout this book to be duly" 
oriented, though in reaUty the longitudinal axis is south-south-east. See page 57. 

Fio. 5. — St. Mark's, Venice. 


tending 65 ft. and embracing in the great arch of the central 
portion three entrance doors, the outer ones for the laity and the 
middle door for the Archbishop and clergy on solemn occasions. 
These entrances open into porches leading to lobbies that, in turn, 
give access to the narthex. This narthex runs the entire width 
of the church, terminating at one end with an entrance from 
the side street and with the baptistery at the other, and in front 
opening into the nave. From Ambrosden Avenue the side entrance 
gives into a large porch, flanked on the left by the campanile 
with a caretaker's lodge and on the right by coupled columns 
supporting deeply recessed arches. The domed cubicles formed by 
the junction of the aisles and narthex are centres from which the 
baptistery, the aisles, and the staircases leading to the galleries 
are approached. 

" The nave, 60 ft. wide and 232 ft. long from the inside of 
the great door to the sanctuary step, is divided into three bays 
of 67 ft. each, covered with saucer-shaped domes rising out of 
pendentives that spring imperceptibly from the sustaining arches 
resting on enormous piers. Each bay will be sub-divided by 
another (and lesser) pier and again by columns, forming an arcaded 
aisle with a gallery over." [The height of these main arches is 
90 ft., their span 60 ft. ; laterally in each bay are coupled secondary 
arches, 72 ft. 6 in. in height to the crown of the soffit and 25 ft. 
in span, embraced within the great archivolt. Thus each bay 
contains in its lateral face seven arches ; four forming the arcade 
on which the gallery rests, each with a span of about 12 ft. ; two 
secondary arches of 25 ft. span ; and finally the great archivolt 
"embracing all and unifying the whole system." ' The height of 
the three domes of the nave is 112 ft.] 

" Laterally to the aisles (which are comparatively narrow, 
being only 15 ft. wide and planned exclusively for processional 
purposes) are four chapels on the south and three on the north 
side. Between the first chapel and the porch on the north, rises 
the campanile, 30 ft. square at the base ; of which the ground 

' Rev. Herbert Lucas, S.J., TAe Xaverian, May 1910. 

















floor is assigned to the registry (with an entrance from the aisle) 
where parochial business may be conducted. Beyond the cam- 
panile are three chapels, two of them being each equal in length 
to half a bay of the nave, and the third, next the transept, 
somewhat longer. They are covered with barrel vaults and 
lighted by coupled windows — in the first and second chapel, 
of two lights each ; in the third chapel, of three lights. 
The chapels are separated from the aisle and the aisle from 
the nave by marble columns supporting a groined arcade, 
which extends from the narthex inclusively to the transept. 
The pavement of the chapels is raised 12 in. above the general 
level. A dwarf marble wall in the archway next the altar, 
and two steps in the opening, separates the chapels from the 

" On the south side the arrangement is the same, except that 
an additional chapel, opening into the baptistery by a triple 
arcade, occupies the space given on the north side to the campanile. 
In each of the lateral chapels and elsewhere places are allotted 
for confessionals. The total internal Avidth across nave, aisle, 
and side chapels is 148 ft. 

" From the last bay of the nave project transepts measuring 
152 ft. across. In the western half of the one facing Ambrosden 
Avenue, an entrance is provided and access obtained to the 
interior through a porch and lobby. In the other half continuing 
the line of the porch, a chapel of small dimensions is introduced 
to enhance the scale of this portion of the structure. Crosswise, 
the north transept is divided by a wall pierced with two arches 
resting on a column of the same dimensions and character as the 
columns of the aisles. Continuing the line of the nave along 
the transept, columns are set in pairs to carry the arcade under 
a gangway, which connects the gallery in the nave with that 
in the sanctuary. The pier at the east angle of the transept 
encloses a staircase ascending to an external clerestory and to 
the roof. On the south side the transept is similarly treated, 
except that recesses for confessionals and a shrine are substituted 


Plate VII. — Roof of Baptisteky, looking West. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 

I'LATK \'J1J.- XoUTH-WksT I'uKCll. 

(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



for the chapel and porch ; and an extra arch is added to the 
cross-divisional wall.' 

" The communion step marks the separation between the 
nave and the sanctuary, A passage-way of ample width is formed 
between the communion rail and the low wall enclosing the 
sanctuary, which wall is recessed in the middle to take the ends 
of the first steps [there are six here], leading to the higher 
level. On the right and left are the canons' stalls, raised on 
a marble plinth of the same height as the [three] steps which 
ascend from the lower part of the sanctuary, called the Pres- 
byterium, to the Sanctuarium proper. On this plane stands the 
baldacchino, flanked by four columns on each side, resting on 
pedestals, taking a semi-circular form, and giving greater dignity to 
the high altar. The altar is raised five steps (including the predella) 
above the level of the Sanctuarium and is enclosed by a dossal 
extending from the centre to the second column on each side." 

" On the left is the Archbishop's throne, on its own dais ; 
on the right are the seats for the officiating clergy and the credence 
table. Behind the baldacchino, under a marble parapet, five 
arches extend between the pier responds, four of which open 
into the crypt, the middle arch being a blank. From both sides 
a flight of steps rises and meets in a landing immediately at the 
back of the altar and a further flight leads to the monks' choir. 
The stalls of this choir are arranged in two rows, concentric with 
the apse, and detached from the wall by a passage, on a level 
with the floor of the higher seats, which opens on to a bridge 
communicating with the monastery. The height from the floor 
of the cathedral to the predella of the high altar is 7 ft, and from 
there to the floor of the choir 6 ft. The dimensions of the sanctuary 
bay are a length (from the high altar to the nave) of 62 ft,, by 
a width of 50 ft. The retro-choir extends the length 48 ft. more. 

' Cardinal Vaughan did not care for this arrangement of the transepts. He thought 
it dreadful thus to divide them from the nave, and considered they would have been 
magnificent if left quite open. 

' This dossal does not exist, since the architect's design was not CEtrried out in its 
integrity. See Chapter VII, p. 140. 






The sanctuary dome measures 52 ft. in diameter and is pierced 
in its circumference by twelve round-headed window openings. 
The eastern end is roofed by a wide barrel vault, ending in a 
semi-dome over the apse. 

" The staircases terminating the sanctuary aisles are ways 
to the lower sacristies, stores, vaults, and crypt ; and to the 
upper sacristies, choir, tribunes, and organ galleries. Access to 
the sanctuary for servers and others is obtained by the quadrant 
stairs in the last bay of the screen arcades. 

" Between the sanctuary aisle and the aisle leading to the 
sacristies is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel ' of three bays and an 
apsidal termination broached with three alcoves — a feature 
common in the Byzantine plans. Dwarf walls of marble enclose 
the lower part of the arched openings, to prevent the chapel 
being used as a passage-way and to keep the aisles intact. Ad- 
joining the outer sacristy are lavatories and a strong-room for 
the safe-keeping of archives and church plate. ..." [The grand 
sacristy measures 60 ft. by 30 ft. and is entered from the outer 
sacristy, into the wall of which is built the safe just mentioned.] 

" On the north side the Lady Chapel and aisles are disposed 
in like manner, except that the alcoves in the apse are omitted 
and the outer aisle terminates in a shrine." 

Beneath the choir and extending over the same area a spacious 
crypt, dedicated to St. Peter, " forms an important feature and 
one seldom met with in modern churches. At the sides and 
round the apse runs an aisle one-fifth of its width (separated from 
its nave by six fine columns) and at its western end it is divided into 
five bays, four of which open into the sanctuary and the centre 
one forms an entrance to a mortuary chapel immediately under 
the baldacchino of the principal altar. In the nave of the crypt, 
between the two central columns, there will be an altar backed 
by a dossal extending to the second column on each side. Eight 

• Converted afterwards into the Lady Chapel, when the obvious inconvenience, from 
the ceremonial point of view, of its position in relation to the prooessioneJ way from the 
sacristies, was recognized. 


semi-circular headed windows in the outer wall of the aisle and 
the four arched openings .to the sanctuary in the end (western) 
wall light this part of the church. The ceilings are vaulted 
and hereafter will be covered with mosaics and the walls lined 
with marble. 

" Adjoining the crypt, southwards are two lobbies, one form- 
ing a porch from the outside, and the other an entrance from 
the sanctuary aisle by the circular staircase to the lower or 
working sacristy. This sacristy will be divided longitudinally so 
as to reduce the span of the 60 x 30 ft. floor above, and provided 
with fittings that will enable the sacristan to carry on his work 
with the least amount of labour. It will be lighted by wide 
segmental-headed windows above ground in the side and end 
walls." The basement also contains store-rooms and heating 
chambers. " Westwards, towards the heating chamber, under 
the apse of the Lady Chapel is a room for storing and arranging 
candles and oil for the lamps. On the opposite side, beneath 
the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a large, dry vaulted space is 
provided for keeping the many items of ecclesiastical furniture 
which only call for occasional use." 

The cathedral is heated with a combination of hot air and 
steam, the former being discharged from gratings in the floor ; 
and the latter carried in pipes along the galleries, to counteract 
as far as possible any condensation occasioned by the cold sur- 
faces of the marble lining and the mosaics. The warm air is 
conveyed in ten brick flues, 4 ft. by 2 ft. 6 in. each, to the required 
points ; the steam is carried by wrought-iron pipes placed in 
channels covered by gratings. Under the baptistery and the 
Lady Chapel are two heating chambers, having coal cellars and 
shoots attached and access both from within and without. The 
heating extends to the crypt, sacristies, and tribunes. 

At the four principal angles of the building, as we have seen, 
spacious staircases connect the ground floor with the whole range 
of galleries above and with the exits to the various roof levels. 
The tribune over the narthex is carried by the two first piers of 


















the nave, much enlarged and strengthened for the purpose, which, 
with the two great supporting columns, form a triple arcading. 
This tribune, 40 ft. long by 15 ft. deep, is triply recessed in the 
western wall and is ceiled with a wide barrel vault. Above 
these recesses it is pierced by three windows similar to those in 
the side galleries, while the great arch forming the western support 
of the first dome contains the large semi-circular terracotta 
trellis, which is an important feature in the western elevation. 

Capacious galleries, 27 ft. above the floor of the church, 
extend at the triforium level the length of the nave, guarded, 
as is the western tribune, with low balustrades of brick and 
wood, to be replaced ultimately with marble work. Continuity 
of communication is maintained across the transepts by the 
raised bridge or gangway to which reference has already been 
made and to which access is obtained from the galleries by a 
doorway in the thickness of the western pier of the transept. 
Similar doorways in the eastern piers lead to the tribunes of the 
sanctuary, which are designed to contain four portions of the 
organ, two on each side, and originally were intended also to 
accommodate the lay choir. They terminate eastwards in the 
spiral staircases which complete the circuit of the building. 

Mounting yet higher, we reach the level of the passage over the 
clerestory, which receives light through small semi-circular open- 
ings in the external wall, and also from the body of the church, 
into which this passage opens at intervals by means of small 
balconies in pairs, protected by iron railings. There are twelve 
of these balconies, which, when the domes are clothed with their 
garment of mosaic, will afford a fine and close view of its rich 

The problems of a satisfactory scheme of fenestration were 
solved by the insertion of the lateral secondary arches. The 
tympanum of each is filled by a great semi-circular light, nearly 
25 ft. in diameter. These clerestory windows are composed of 
terracotta trellises, from the potteries of Messrs. Doulton & Co., 
glazed with faintly toned flint glass of great brilliancy and varying 







thicknesses. Below each lunette are pairs of semi-circular headed 
windows, glazed with Venetian roundels enriched with borders in 
leaded patterns. Cardinal Vaughan objected very strongly to the 
slightly greenish tinted glass chosen by the architect, and pleaded 
for something warmer in effect. Bentley, with the future glow of 
colour from mosaic and marble in his mind, was obdurate, and for 
once had his own way. The transepts have each two pairs of 
lights at the triforium level and two rather smaller windows above. 
On the ground floor they have small square-headed two-light 
windows, four in the south and three in the north (of which 
one has three lights). The sanctuary is lighted north and south 
with a terracotta lunette, and below with two windows in 
each tribune. The apse has six round-headed windows. Of the 
lighting of the sanctuary dome, the west end, and the chapels we 
have already spoken. 

The scheme of lighting has proved to be as undoubted a success 
as the acoustic effects of the building. " The westernmost dome," 
wrote the architect, "is in strong light which streams through a 
large lunette window immediately on a line with the pendentives. 
The dome of the next bay is deeper in mysterious shadows ; the third 
is still more so ; while the sanctuary dome is brilliantly lighted 
by the twelve windows round its drum, so that our attention is led 
up to and powerfully focussed upon the high altar, beneath its 
marble baldacchino, necessary to give it emphasis and dignity. . . . 
Beyond the sanctuary is the monks' choir with its apsidal termina- 
tion. Here the rather strong light admitted by six windows is 
necessary to enable the monks to sing their daily office. Perhaps the 
light may be found too strong ; if so it can readily be modified 
to suit their requirements and enhance the general effect." 

The external dimensions of the cathedral are : extreme length, 
.360 ft. ; width, 156 ft. ; height of nave, 117 ft. ; height of fagade 
(not including the turrets), 99 ft. ; height of campanile, 273 ft., 
and to the top of the cross, 284 ft. It covers an area of about 
54,000 square ft. 

The campanile was moved from the west front to its present 




position and the fagade carried back on two levels to 
satisfy light and air claimants. The other notable 
alterations in the third and final plan are the 
strengthening of the first piers of the nave to carry 
the tribune over the narthex ; these were rendered 
lighter in effect by being deeply recessed on their 
western sides : furthermore, the great piers of the 
nave and the corresponding chapel piers have lost 
the niches introduced in the second design. 

And now, having described the plan in its main 
lines, it will be necessary to say something of the 
orientation of the building. Tiie site measures 
nearly 4 acres, its greatest length being 566 ft. and 
greatest width 360 ft., an area which unfortunately 
does not lie due east and west at its main axis. 
Now, besides the land allotted for the cathedral, 
space was needed for several other buildings in 
connection with its service ; beyond which, any super- 
fluous land, pro- 
vided it were of 
sufficient size 
and suitable 
shape, might be 
disposed of to 
help provide 
of economy, 
therefore, de- 
cided the aban- 
donment of any 
idea of correct 
orientation ; so 
that, by placing 
the building 


Pg iOC^ jIL It 


Fio. 10.— West Elevation. 


close to and parallel with the boundary lines of the site on its 
Ambrosden Avenue (or eastern and longest) side, the axis of the 
choir is actually turned to the south-south-east. 

This wise arrangement^ — supported as it was by Roman pre- 
cedent, " where churches had to follow the lines of existing streets 
and ways, a condition equally filled in our densely crowded metro- 
polis " ' — provoked some discontent and adverse criticism. Even 
before the laying of the foundation stone, the Cardinal was refer- 
ring cavillers to the architect. Of one such he Avrote to Bentley : 

" I told that I could not judge otherwise than I had, but that 

if he considered his idea of great value he must communicate it to 
you, not to me. He said that you had designed a church with the 
wrong orientation in obedience to me — that left to yourself you 
would have— well, followed . . . [him] ! His plan is a monstrosity 
and should be kept as its own refutation." Indeed the fault- 
finding of the adherents of correct orientation continued long after 
it could be of any avail. Even after the architect's death a sug- 
gested method of orientation was resuscitated, one which would 
have left triangles of land wasted and unoccupied while covering 
much of the site at its western side, the valuable ground rents of 
which, according to Cardinal Vaughan's calculations, were to 
swell the income for cathedral maintenance. J^ortunately com- 
mon sense had triumphed against " such a quixotic taking leave 
of reason and sense," as a staunch defender of the adopted position 
phrased it, and there remains a handsome surplus of land along 
the whole length of the site, on its side parallel to Morpeth 
Mansions, to let on building lease ; while not a foot of that 
allocated to the Cathedral, Archbishop's House, Chapter Hall, 
Clergy House, and Choir School has been wasted. 

Another feature in Bentley's plan which was to meet with bitter 
criticism was the position and arrangement of the raised retro-choir. 
Dom Aidan Gasquet, O.S.B., had expressed some dissatisfaction in 
the architect's life-time, but it was after his death that the most 

' Mr. C. Hadfield, in Paper on WeetminBter Cathedral read before Royal Institute 
of British Architects, March 1903. 



violent fault-finders spoke. 
Father Gasquet thought 
that the rendering of the 
Church's daily Hours of 
Office in the retro- 
choir, separated 
from the people by 
the whole width of 
the sanctuary, and 
raised so much above them," 
would defeat Cardinal 
Vaughan's project that the 
liturgical portions of the 
Church's service should be- 
come familiar to, and be 
taken daily part in, by the 
laity. His objections were 
met and answered at once 
by the editor of the 
Cathedral Record, who 
pointed out the advantages 
of the arrangement as fol- 
lows: "(1) The retro-choir 
is raised so high that it 
will be visible from the en- 
trance door of the nave, 
visible to the whole nave. 
(2) Being in the apse, which 
will serve as a sounding 

• It may be observed that the 
height from the floor of the nave to 
the predella (7 ft.) and from there 
to the floor of the choir (6 ft.) is 
considerably less than the levels of 
Canterbury, although the width is 
exceeded by more than a third. 


board, the voices will reach further through the cathedral than if 
placed elsewhere. (3) The fathers will be removed from the dangers 
of draughts by the protection of the apse, which will be open only to 
the church. Thus protecting screens, which in our old cathedrals 
cut the choir off entirely from the congregation, will not be re- 
quired. (4) There will be nothing to prevent the fathers taking 
up a position in front of the altar, whenever this may be more 
desirable. (5) The above arrangement has been copied from the 
great church of Sant' Ambrogio in Milan. This church was 
served by a chapter of secular priests and by a community of 
Benedictine monks, and they used the same choir alternately at 
different hours." 

As fate would have it, the scheme that Benedictine monks 
should return to the Westminster district in whose Abbey they had 
officiated for centuries till something over three hundred years 
before, was swept into the limbo of failures and disappointments, 
and the cathedral is served by twelve prebendaries. Obviously 
the spacious accommodation of the retro-choir is unsuited to so 
small a body, so the Divine Office is recited from the presbyterium 
or lower level of the sanctuary, the retro-choir being occupied by 
the lay choir, composed of choir scholars and men singers, and 
founded in September 1901 by Cardinal Vaughan. But as the 
raison d'etre for this arrangement of the building no longer existed, 
the extreme malcontents went further and demanded radical 
alterations in the apse. They would have the crypt swept away 
and the apse floor lowered to the sanctuary level ; and, as fault 
had been found with the position of the Archbishop's throne and 
exception taken to certain awkwardnesses in the sanctuary levels, 
they demanded that the throne should be removed to a central 
position in the apse with the stalls for the chapter to right and 

Father Lucas came forward to champion warmly Bentley's 
design and defend one no longer here to defend himself ; and in a 
carefully reasoned reply to his critics, proved that he had been 
guided throughout by a loyal adherence to tradition allied to 



modern congregational requirements. With regard to the un- 
doubted awkwardness of the levels of the sanctuary, Father 
Lucas pointed out that they were in no way the fault of the archi- 
tect. " The sanctuary of the cathedral was designed by Bentley 


VM.I pS^riy-r,-!— - <^ 

ITO pL |t ^^ l^rx |LXXX pu- T.- ,jj^ 

Fig. 12. — EiiEVATiOK or East End. 

to meet certain requirements, the nature of which was carefully 
explained to him. After the design had been approved, and was 
in course of being carried out, it was indicated to him that the 
sanctuary must fulfil certain other requirements, for which. 


naturally, he had made no provision. The result is the present 
exceedingly awkward arrangement of the sanctuary levels, which 
plainly allows of no free movement about the archiepiscopal 
throne. For this awkwardness it would be surely unfair to blame 
the architect. As he himself said, only a few months before his 
lamented death, ' Such matters should be thought of in time.' 
If any errors have been made," concludes Father Lucas, " they 
have been due to departures from the designs and ideas of the 
architect." (See Appendix C for subsequent rearrangement of 

The accusation, both implied and expressed by his critics, that 
Bentley was ignorant of rubrics and liturgical requirements is one 
to raise a smile. The writer remembers hearing how very often 
his interposition averted serious mistakes in matters ecclesiological, 
due to carelessness or want of knowledge on the part of those who 
should have been familiar with correct detail. 

Early in 1896 the plans were all completed, and a special set, 
provided with Italian measurements and inscriptions, was pre- 
pared to be sent to Rome. They were carried thither by Monsignor 
Canon Fenton (later Bishop of Amycla) and submitted to His 
Holiness Pope Leo XIII in April 1896. Destined for the Vatican 
Library, there, amongst its glorious and ancient archives, they now 
repose, together with a copy of the Cathedral Record bound in white 
vellum, on which are the Papal arms embossed in gold. 

Plate X. — Lunettk an» TuHnKT. 




"Foundation — Coatraictors — Materials — Constructional progress — Problems of support, 

abutnaent, roofing — -Campanile. 

The Cardinal wi'ote to Bentley on July 8th to ask for the estimated 
cost of the foundations, and very shortly after the laying of the 
first stone the work of opening up the ground in preparation for 
them began. The discovery was then made that a great platform 
of concrete averaging 9 ft. in thickness, and excessively hard and 
solid, underlay rather more than half of the site included within 
the foundation boundary lines. This formed the substructure of 
the old prison, and became an important factor in deciding the 
levels and lie of the foundations, and the level of the crypt, of 
which, indeed, it forms the floor beneath a veneer of marble. This 
old concrete bed lies to the left of a diagonal line drawn from the 
north jamb of the great entrance portal to the south pier of the 
sanctuary arch, and on to the lobby of the working sacristy. It 
extends also beneath the whole of the ground now occupied by 
Archbishop's House. This valuable concrete, though in some 
parts needing to be supplemented with new material to bring it 
up to the level required, effected a considerable economy on the 
large outlay required by the foundations. 

The site had long been used as a deposit for surplus earth, 
which, to the depth of about 13 ft., had to be excavated before 
the virgin soil was reached. This was found to consist of a rich 
black mould to the depth of 18 in., followed by 3 ft. of very soft 
loamy sand, deepening very considerably eastwards, thus necessi- 
tating excavations to the depth of 21 ft. for the sacristies and the 
south of the Lady Chapel. Towards the west end the nature of 



the strata improved, clean solid gravel being soon reached. A 
great quantity of the earth excavated was retained on the site 
and rammed around the foundations ; but the major part was 
carried up the river in barges, and thence to Dagenham in Essex, 
to be employed in filling up a disused dock. 

Fourteen thousand five hundred tons of earth as well as a 
quantity of old brickwork were removed from the excavations by 
means of three cranes ; a large Scotch crane, serving a circle 100 ft. 
in diameter and with a lifting power of 3 tons when extended to 
its full reach of 50 ft., the lifting power increasing, of course, in 
proportion to the shortening of the length of reach. The two 
others used were steam travelling cranes, each serving a circle 
30 ft. in diameter and with a lifting power of 2 tons ; and for these 
over 800 ft, lineal of temporary railways were laid, on which they 
travelled to and fro at the rate of eight miles an hour. 

The excavations for the tower foundations were 17 ft. deep 
and 46 ft. square ; for each of the main piers and counterforts 
19 ft. deep, 21 ft. wide, and 61 ft. long ; and for the three secondary 
piers and their abutments 19 ft. deep, 14 ft. wide, and 58 ft. long. 

Six thousand tons of concrete, measuring over 4,000 cubic 
yards, were required for the new foundations. It was composed 
of Thames ballast and Portland cement, very accurately measured 
apart, and then combined in a dry state by three separate and 
careful shovellings to secure perfect admixture. During the third 
shovelling, just sufficient water to make the ingredients cling to- 
gether was gradually added from the rose of a watering pot. The 
concrete thus prepared was wheeled in barrows to the trenches, 
and thrown into them from the ground level in layers of about 
2 ft. thick, the top layer being levelled to receive the brickwork of 
the walls and piers. 

The cement above referred to was chosen as the result of a 
series of careful experiments. Samples of various manufactures 
were made up in boxes with varying proportions of Thames ballast, 
and allowed to remain long enough to test the fitness of the result- 
ing block of concrete. It was finally decided to use the best 



quality "Goliath" 
brand, on account of 
its extreme fineness 
and power of resisting 
tensile strain. So fine 
is it ground that the 
residue on a sieve of 
5,800 meshes to the 
square inch will not 
exceed 10 per cent. 
As regards its resist- 
ance, it was proved 
that, if mixed with 
water, made into 
briquettes in moulds 
and allowed to set, 
and kept for seven 
days (during the last 
six of which it was 
immersed in water), it 
will at the expiration 
of that time sustain 
a tensile strain of 400 
lb. to the square inch. 
If kept four times as 
long, with an immer- 
sion of twenty-seven 
days, the tensile strain 
sustainable was in- 
creased to 550 lbs. per 
square inch. Six hun- 
dred tons of this emi- 
n e n 1 1 y satisfactory 
cement and 100,000 
gallons of water were 









combined with 5,000 cubic yards of Thames ballast to make the 
6,000 tons of concrete laid in the foundations. The excavations 
and this first portion of the foundations were carried out by 
Messrs. Mowlem & Co. of Westminster. 

The second contract, for the brickwork foundations from the 
surface of the old and the new concrete to the ground line, was 
taken over by Messrs. Perry & Co., of Bow, in January 1896 and 
completed in the October following. Over 2,000,000 hand-made 
bricks were required for the foundations alone ; blue Staffordshire 
being used for the outside facing of the underground vaults and 
sacristry and for the damp-courses, while Fletton wire-cut bricks 
composed the large piers and the walls and Poole wire-cut bricks 
the smaller piers and abutments. The brickwork of the footings 
was in all cases double the width of that above, the concrete below 
where it is new extending from one to two feet on either side. 
These brick foundations, where there is no basement, are in many 
places, and owing to the loose nature of the ground, 12 ft. deep. 
Under all walls and piers was laid a damp-course consisting of a 
layer of blue Staffordshire vitrified bricks, set in almost neat 
cement ; and these same bricks form a vertical lining wherever 
the basement walls come against the earth outside. 

The work was pressed on with great rapidity, and by the end 
of March there was appreciable progress. The foundations of the 
primary and secondary piers and of the columns to carry the gallery 
on the south side of the nave and transept had been built up to 
within 9 in. of the finished floor. The west front, from the centre 
line southwards, including the heating vault and the foundations 
for the great entrance and the narthex, had risen to the ground 
level ; while on the south the foundations of the lateral wall and 
the transverse walls connecting it with the great piers, as far east- 
wards as the Lady Chapel,' had been carried up 8 ft. above the 
concrete bed. The foundations of the walls and piers of this 
chapel and its aisles and of the walls of the lower sacristy, second 

' Tlien and till long after intended for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. To avoid, 
confusion we adopt throughout its present dedication in referring to it. 




heating vault, and stores had risen to about the same level. Also 
completed were the foundations of the second and third large piers 
and the intermediate piers on the north side. 

All was making rapid headway when on the afternoon of 
May 1st, 1896, the work suffered a temporary but none the less 
annoying check. All the labourers but two struck, and thus put 
an end to the bricklayers' activity. This action was due to a 
recent rise of a halfpenny an hour on bricklayers' wages (in- 
creasing them from 9M. to lOd.) conceded by the master builders, 
and to come into operation on May 1st. The labourers putting 
forward a demand for a similar advance, had been met with 
refusal on the ground that wages for unskilled labour ought not 
to rise at the same rate as those for skilled labour. Thus denied, 
the men decided to try the effects of a stoppage of work ; and as 
regards the cathedral, succeeded for a time in keeping it at a 
standstill. But the masters stood firm ; gradually fresh hands 
applied to be taken on, and by the end of May there were renewed 
signs of activity. By the middle of June the full complement of 
men was again employed. 

The end of July saw the bringing up to the ground level of the 
walls of the working sacristy and stores adjoining, the walls and 
piers of the Blessed Sacrament and Lady Chapels, the enclosing 
walls of St. Peter's Crypt, and the outer walls and piers of the aisle 
transepts and chapels on the north side. In October Messrs. Perry 
were ready to remove from the works in readiness for the new 
contractor to whom the superstructure was to be entrusted. The 
outlay on the excavations and foundations up to that date amounted 
to about £14,000. 

Out of five firms who tendered by schedule Messrs. Shillitoe & 
Sons, of Bury St. Edmunds, were selected, and the contract for the 
erection of the building up to the level of the domes and vaulting 
was signed on November 5th, 1896. This firm had previously carried 
out a number of important works ; notably Truro Cathedral, the new 
Admiralty Offices in St. James's Park, the then recent additions 
to the National Gallery, and the restoration of Westminster Hall. 



The price of brick- 
work (for with vast 
areas of brickwork did 
the bulk of this con- 
tract mainly deal) was 
fixed at the rate of 
£20 a rod. Every 
fortnight the work was 
measured up by Mr. 
A. J. Gate, the sur- 
veyor to whom for 
many years had been 
entrusted the quan- 
tities of Bentley's 
works, and the con- 
tractors received pay- 
ment for it imme- 
diately on presentation 
of the architect's cer- 
tificate. Thus, as we 
shall show in a later 
chapter, was avoided 
the possibility of piling 
up debt ; the Cardinal 
raising the money and 
paying for the work 
continuously as it 
was carried on. The 
builders undertook to 
employ not less than 
260 men, working full 
time ; if the exchequer 
were prosperous, 
there was nothing 
to prevent the em- 




















ployment of as many more hands as they could find work 

At an earlier date and before proceeding with any brickwork 
the architect had carefully and exhaustively tested the many 
samples of bricks submitted to him. Those selected for the piers 
(both great and secondary) and the interior of the walls were put 
through most rigorous weight-sustaining tests by Messrs. Kir- 
kaldy & Sons, testing engineers, in the following manner. Four 
parcels (marked A, B, C, D) each containing six Fletton bricks, 
and one parcel (marked E), containing six Poole bricks, were sent 
to them. Each brick was flushed true on the upper and lower 
bed, and was bedded between strips of pine f in. thick. They 
were then subjected to a gradually increased thrusting stress, 
as was shown by an elaborate table containing many hundreds 
of figures, with the following result : 

In the mean " slightly cracking stress " of the twenty-four 
Fletton bricks, the resistance stands at 185'6 tons per square foot ; 
and in that of the six Poole bricks at 398'6 tons per square foot. 
Under similar conditions the ordinary London stock would have 
cracked with one-third of the load of the former. The blue 
Staffordshire bricks, employed for outside facing of underground 
work and for the damp-courses, showed satisfactory resistance to 
pressure up to 700 tons per square foot ; and being impervious 
to moisture were used in substitution for the usual asphalte vertical 
rendering and horizontal damp-course. 

For the exterior Bentley chose Bracknell red facings, from 
Messrs. Lawrence & Sons' fields, an exceptionally fine thin type of 
brick, giving five courses to the foot. This exterior (thin brick) 
walling was bonded to the backing with one course of binders to 
four of stretchers, without the use of quarter bats. The points 
were raked out during progress, and pointed with a bold weathered 
joint as the scaffolding was removed. The building was lined 
interiorily with Favcrsham stocks, left rough and unpointed in 
order to afford a satisfactory surface for the adherence of the shell 
of marble and mosaic when the time came for its application. 

















Every brick used was hand-made, machine-made varieties being 
absolutely tabooed. At first the progress of the work was 
arrested from time to time by the difficulty of getting an ade- 
quate supply of bricks. To avoid these vexatious delays the 
contractors took a brickfield at Fletton, near Peterborough, and 
were thus enabled to deliver, if demanded, as many as 60,000 
bricks a week. 

It was feared at one time, owing to the high price of English 
granite, that it would be necessary to introduce what was needed 
for the exterior of the building from abroad, and probably from 
the famous quarries at Baveno, which produced the huge columns 
in St. Paul's Outside the Walls, at Rome. Fortunately, at the 
psychological moment the price of English granite was reduced 
and the order placed with Messrs. Freeman & Sons, of Penryn, 
who, it will be remembered, had presented the fine block of granite 
used for the foundation stone. They supplied the 8-foot granite 
plinth, fine-axed and set in four courses, besides the door dressings 
and joists and heads of windows lighting the vaults and sub- 
sacristy ; granite being used in all places contiguous to the public 
streets where excessive wear and risk of damage had to receive 
special consideration. 

" In regard to the masonry in which there is, exteriorly, a 
quantity of decorative work," Mr. Charles Hadfield remarks,' 
" many different varieties of the best hard freestones had to be 
considered ; those of Northamptonshire and Rutland came under 
notice, but eventually considerations of cost and a ready supply 
made it manifest that a strong Portland stone from the Brown 
bed was the best for the external dressings." Even so it was 
sometimes difficult to obtain a supply equal to the demand and the 
builders suffered delays from this cause from time to time. All 
the masonry was worked on the site. 

The bulk of the vast quantity of mortar used was composed 
of one part of " Goliath " brand Portland cement to three parts 
of clean, well-washed Thames sand ; but in the damp-courses 

' Paper read before the Royal Institute of British Architects, March 16tb, 1903. 



is i 


I 2 









and blue Staffordshire facings the proportion of cement used was 
higher by one-third. 

The work of supervision proving too onerous for one clerk of 
the works, the architect arranged very early in the operations for 
Mr. Percy A. Lamb (since in practice on his own account) to 
become assistant to Mr. C. H. Mullis. The latter had been in 
charge of the new monastery and transept built for the Redemp- 
torists at Clapham in 1893-4, and Bentley thought so highly of 
his capacity and integrity that he retained his services for the 
cathedral works. Mr. Mullis and Mr. Lamb continued this joint 
supervision (with an interval in 1898 when Mr. Lamb was away 
in charge of the building at the Franciscan Convent at Braintree) 
till the campanile was finished in 1903. Thereafter Mr. Lamb 
remained in sole charge till 1905, which year saw the completion 
of all structural work. 

In April 1897, Bentley wrote cheerfully that " the red brick 
facing is making a great show." The enclosing walls of the chapels 
on the north and south sides had risen to a height of 7 ft., while 
the walls of the lower sacristy and vaults adjacent had attained 
a similar level. Along the north and west the granite plinth was 
in position ; the jambs of the two doorways on the north side were 
fixed as well as the sills of the crypt windows ; on the south the 
various arches and windows enclosed in the lower stage were nearly 
completed. The piers of the nave, moreover, had risen to a height 
of 12 ft. ; these piers, fourteen in number, include the eight great 
piers and the six secondary piers, each with its corresponding 

The following remarks are taken from Mr. J. A. Marshall's 
paper ' on the construction of the cathedral. With regard to the 
main features of support and abutment he says : 

" In the disposition of the piers and abutments, with a view 
not only to the sustentation of the pressure, but to reserving as 
much space as possible for the aisles, chapels, and galleries, a 
system has been adopted not unlike that to be seen in most 

' Paper read before the Architectural ABSOciatioa, April 12th, 1907. 



Gothic cathedrals, where huge, yet narrow, counterforts are pro- 
jected at intervals, and stiffened by transverse walls, arcading, 
and vaulting ; but while, in a Gothic cathedral, these counterforts 
are generally most conspicuous features outside the building, 
at the Westminster Cathedral they are practically limited to the 
interior, the spaces between being entirely utilised. . . ." 




Fio. 18.— Transverse Sections tbcbough Nave and Csapel aw» 


He then proceeds to describe the counterforts and the vaulting 
they sustain. 

" Only in one instance is a main counterfort permitted to 
retain what may be termed its simple unaffected character, all 
the others being more or less modified by the exigencies of the 
plan ; thus two of them form the flank walls of the transepts, where, 
on the east, they are further strengthened by the walls and vaulting 
of the sanctuary, so as to resist the cumulative pressure of the 


nave vaulting. At the west end of the nave, the corresponding 
abutment has been very considerably affected — not to say weak- 
ened — in the upper part, by the retiring disposition of the western 
fa9ade, a concession to light and air claimants. 

" Of the secondary counterforts, those dividing the transepts 
have also a distinct and complicated character, while the others 
retain their simple form — excepting that next the campanile, but 
this of course affects only one side of the building. 

" The proportions of each compartment of the nave are those 
of a cube, up to the springing of the main arches — 60 ft. from the 
floor. Another 30 ft. 4 in., and we are at the springing of the 
domes, the total internal height being 111 ft., or about 10 ft. higher 
than the choir of Westminster Abbey. 

" The extreme projection of the counterforts is 48 ft., but just 
above the chapel vaulting this projection is suddenly reduced to 
24 ft., at which it is maintained to a height of nearly 90 ft. The 
lower projections — forming the divisions between the chapels — 
are but little more than ' flying buttresses,' filled in with thin 
walls, so as to form recesses for the altars. . . . 

" The main counterforts are 10 ft. 6 in. wide, and from these, 
at a height of 60 ft. from the floor, spring the large transverse 
arches, 6 ft. 9 in. wide, that support the pendentives and the 
domes. As the thrust exerted by these arches and the penden- 
tives is at a level much below the springing of the domes, it was 
not considered necessary to raise the main counterforts higher 
than the lean-to roof of the passage over the triforium vaulting ; 
but the secondary counterforts, placed opposite the centres of the 
domes, are raised well above these roofs, and weighted with turrets, 
the supporting arches and wall at this level being comparatively 

Mr. Marshall then reverts to the exceptional character of the 
counterforts dividing the transepts (see fig. 20) : 

" These consist on the ground plan of two piers, one next the 
nave, the other next the outer wall, the space between being 
arched over just above the level of the gangways or galleries that 




cross the transepts. To dispel the weak appearance of the pier 
next the nave, and to ensure a uniformity of scale on the ground 
floor, the openings between the piers are filled in with arcades that 
agree in height with those of the galleries ; but these arcades do 
nothing towards counteracting the thrust of the arches over, and, 
indeed, they were not inserted till long after the main parts of the 
structure were built. In building the pier next the nave, the pre- 
caution had been taken to make it 9 in. wider than the correspond- 
ing piers of the nave, but this was not considered sufficient, so a 
rolled steel tie was inserted just below the springing of the arches, 
where it would be eventually concealed by the arcades ; and at a 
higher level — just above the crown of the arches — another similar 
tie was built in. When it is considered that the turrets of these 
transept counterforts are directly over the arches, and that the 
arches sustain nearly half the weight of the vaulting and the 
roofing, and that one of the domes is partly dependent on the pier, 
it will be admitted that these precautions are not altogether 
uncalled for." 

The dimensions included in the foregoing paragraphs when 
applied to solid masses of brickwork afford an explanation of the 
excessive discontent of the bricklayers, with whom a good deal of 
friction occurred from time to time. They detested the monotony 
of these massive piers and walls ; with hands often raw and 
bleeding from perpetual handling of bricks, they objected above all 
to kneeling and leaning over to place them in position. Some, 
accustomed to building operations of a less enduring character, 
" downed tools " and took their wages, asserting gloomily that 
" they weren't engaged to lay a bloomin' pavement, and it wasn't 
their job." They were replaced, of course, and the work went 
steadily on, very little affected by such contretemps. 

The enclosing walls of the structure, seldom less than 3 ft. 
thick, serve with the brick vaulting over the galleries and tran- 
septs to stiffen the counterforts and increase the abutment ; the 
lower concrete vaulting of the aisles and chapels being in this 
matter of less importance, it was delayed until the completion of 




Fig. 20. — Transept Countebfobts. 

the main parts of the building, when it became possible to realize 
the full pressure of the superstructure. 

The massive walls of the triforium are supported, not on the 


slender arcades dividing the chapels from the aisles, " but on 
segmental relieving arches, turned over these arcades, between the 
counterforts and concealed in the pockets of the vaulting. The 
span of each relieving arch is 25 ft., and the skewbacks are not cut 
into the piers, but are formed on granite springers that project 
beyond. This expedient to reduce the span and maintain the 
piers intact was most essential next the transepts, where the 
triforium wall suddenly stops and the abutment has been weakened 
by the formation of a passage in the wall of the transept. 

" In view of this and the complicated section of the relieving 
arches, due to the difficulty of clearing the vaulting of the chapels, 
it may perhaps be wondered why so favourable an opportunity 
for the use of steel girders that involve no thrust and occupy but 
little space, should have been neglected ; but the architect resolved 
not to introduce into the cathedral any ironwork as a support 
though " (as we have seen) " he did not feel justified in objecting 
to its use as a tie." 

The above-described method of supporting the higher levels 
relieved the chapel arcades and vaulting of all extraneous weight 
and achieved the slender grace to which reference has been made, 
and by means of which extra space and a "suitable relative 
proportion or scale " were acquired. Continuing the details of 
construction, the lecturer remarked : 

" The archways formed in the lower part of the counterforts, 
to preserve the continuity of the aisles, galleries, and passages, 
have been kept as small as possible, but in the upper parts hollow 
spaces have been left to economize material. These spaces were 
not enclosed until the brickwork had been exposed some time to 
dry, and small openings for ventilation were left in the upper 
and lower parts of the cavities, to facilitate the drying after the 
enclosing walls were built. It was also desirable to keep these 
walls down until the cavities were arched or corbelled over — as the 
case might be — to prevent the accumulation of rubbish that would 
have blocked up the ventilators at the bottom." 

So much for the support and abutment of nave and transepts 




j ^ma 


Plate XII. — Windows of Sanctuary I3ome and Turret of East End. 

{Photo, Cyril. I'JllLs.) 



With regard to the treatment of these problems at the eastern 
end of the church, Mr. Marshall speaks with equal clarity, and 
we again quote him in full : 

" The eastern portion of the cathedral, comprising the sanctuary, 
the lateral chapels, and the choir, presents a system of construc- 
tion essentially Byzantine, the luminous corona of the sanctuary 
dome being raised aloft on vaulting that seems to be independent 
of direct support. This buoyancy is due to the extensions that 
open out on all sides, equal in span to the dome itself. The en- 
closing walls of the sanctuary, on the north and south, have very 
materially affected the design of the eastern chapels. Originally 
these chapels were to have been enclosed by slender arcades on 
marble columns, corresponding with those of the organ galleries 
adjoining ; but — as in the case of the chapels of the nave — it was 
soon found that these arcades would not be sufficient to sustain 
the weight of the walls over, which are the highest in the building ; 
so the columns were changed into brick piers, and the two end 
bays of the arcades were filled in, leaving only two bays open in 
the middle, and a couple of narrow doorways at each end, for access 
to the aisles. Over the filled-in bays are built the solid portions 
of the outer wall, against which the organs will probably be placed, 
while over the two open bays is built the lighter portion of the wall, 
containing the windows. The weight of this central part does not, 
however, entirely depend on the arcade below, for above the two 
lower windows a relieving arch is turned, that transmits the weight 
of the upper part of the wall to the solid portion at the sides, and 
still further to reduce the weight, that portion of the brickwork 
under the relieving arch, and between the windows, is built hollow. 

" The abutment for the main supporting arches of the sanctuary 
dome is provided by the staircase turrets on the east and by the 
transept piers on the west ; while for the dome itself abutment is 
provided, on the north and south by the vaults over the organ 
galleries, on the west by the dome of the nave, and on the east by 
buttresses built on the wide supporting arch that forms part of 
the vaulting to the choir ; these buttresses are stiffened by the 





Plan** a* 



i ±. 



outer wall of a passage way that passes through them, to provide 
communication between the staircase turrets." 

The floor of the choir, is, as we have pointed out in the last 


chapter, raised 13 ft. above that of the nave, so that only a very 
slight excavation was necessary to obtain the required height 
for the crypt beneath. This excavation was limited by the level 
of the old concrete, which forms the floor of the crypt. On 
account of this platform the architect was anxious to dispense 
with inside footings round the apse ; for which the required 
permission was obtained from the authorities. Footings were 
provided outside, however, though not structurally necessary. 
" At that time," says Mr. Marshall, " these footings were covered 
by the ground that rose above the floor of the crypt, but a subse- 
quent alteration of the levels led to their exposure, and they are 
now again concealed by a retaining wall that forms a low circular 
podium between the buttresses." 

The choir vault has a span of 48 ft. and is, up to nearly half 
its height, a solid mass of brickwork, " roughly corbelled over to 
the curve and faced with concrete. Above this level the vault is a 
concrete shell 18 in. thick at the bottom and 12 in. at the crown. 
A retaining wall of concrete is built on the haunches to receive the 
counterforts or sleeper walls on which are placed the principal 
trusses of the roof. The buttresses of the apse rise to the height 
of the retaining wall, and the two are connected by massive con- 
crete lintels formed across the gallery " (an open colonnade under 
the eaves) " behind the buttresses. The gallery is covered with 
concrete slabs, cast in situ, that form a flat around the timber 
roof. To prevent the arcades of the gallery being pushed out by 
the expansion of the concrete, the flat and the lintels were kept 
clear of the brickwork until the concrete had thoroughly set ; the 
joints were then made good. The retaining wall above referred to 
was raised a little above the flat, to form a curb, on which is placed 
the wood plate for the rafters. The asphalte covering of the flat is 
turned up the curb and under the plate, the joint being covered by 
the lead apron flashing of the eaves. The roof is ventilated by 
drain pipes that pass through the retaining wall to the gallery. 

" To convey the water from the asphalte flats throughout the 
building to the rain-water pipes, a dish is formed in the concrete, 


and at the bottom of the dish or cess-pool a curved length of 
glazed earthenware drain pipe is built in, with the socketed end 
upwards, so that the asphalte could be turned down or dressed 
into the socket. All rain-water conductors that are built into the 
brickwork are formed of glazed and socketed earthenware pipes." 

Having travelled thus far in the story of the materials and 
constructive problems of the building, we may turn aside to take 
up for a brief space the history of its progress. So satisfactory 
was this, that early in 1898 the Record reiterated the opinion voiced 
by Cardinal Vaughan in the preceding November that, provided 
the necessary funds were forthcoming, it lay well within the bounds 
of possibility to finish the cathedral in time to celebrate therein 
the Golden Jubilee of the Re-established Hierarchy on Sep- 
tember 29th, 1900. The architect was of like mind, while the 
contractors were ready to give their assurance that the work 
could be still further accelerated, provided that funds warranted 
the employment of an increased staff. 

At this period the monthly disbursement had risen to close on 
£2,500. In another chapter we shall tell how subscriptions came 
in to the exchequer, enabling the Cardinal to face this huge 
responsibility without quailing. He would order nothing he could 
not pay for, and the money desired seemed to be always, or nearly 
always, ready to his hand. In connection with his earnest wish 
for the opening ceremony to take place in September 1900, it 
must be remembered as characteristic of the man's ardour and 
impatience that at first he had really reckoned on the work being 
finished in two years (a manifest impossibility when we consider 
that the foundations alone occupied fifteen months), in order that 
the opening might coincide with the thirteenth centenary of St. 
Augustine's landing on our shores. 

On the strength of this heavy monthly expenditure, the 
Cardinal made an appeal for help in the Record of March 1898 ; 
with the result tliat the exchequer was replenished sufficiently for 
work to proceed steadily ; so that in the May of 1899 — when a new 
contract was drawn with Messrs. Shillitoe for the erection of the 


domes and vaulting — the architect calculated, after the previous 
three months of good uninterrupted labour, on roofing in by 
the end of that year.' 

In February the brick and stone work of the walls of the aisles, 
chapels, transepts, apse, and the outer walls of the clerestories 
had reached the level of their respective copings, the staircase 
turrets were well above the roofs, and the remainder of the walls 
was up to the height of 85 ft. from the pavement level. At this 
date 9,300,000 bricks had been laid, in conjunction with 42,000 
cubic feet of Portland stone dressings. 

Furthermore the great transverse arches that carry the four 
domes were being turned, and here we may with advantage take 
up again the thread of the story of their construction : ' 

" On the north and south sides these main arches were not 
turned until the lower secondary arches and the brick filling over 
were finished, so that the brickwork served as centering for that 
portion of the main arch that passes through the wall ; but for 
the projecting portion, on which the pendentives rest, it was of 
course necessary to provide thin centering of wood. At the 
springing level of all the arches and brick barrel vaulting, rough 
stone corbels were built in to support the centering, the projection 
being afterwards worked off. The spandrels of the main arches 
are filled up to the crown level Avith brickwork, set back 13i in. 
from the faces of the arch, to reserve a seating for the concrete 
of the pendentives. The visible junction of the brick arch and 
the concrete forms merely an angle or line, and if we follow these 
lines down to the springing where the supporting arches separate, 
we shall find them meet, so that the surface of the pendentive 
expands or develops from a mere point ; but this apparent weak- 
ness in the construction is obviated by the very common method 
of building the lower portion of the arches and the pendentives 
of brick, in horizontal courses ; thus a continuous joint is avoided 
by cutting the brickwork to the required angle, and the top of the 

' As a matter of fact this was not accompliahed till the autumn of 1900. 
^ Mr. J. A. Marshall, loc. cit. 


brick corbelling forms a seating of considerable area for the solid 
concrete backing. 

" The lower portion of the pendentive just described rises to 
a height of 13 ft. above the springing ; fixed centering for this 
part was not necessary — the accuracy of the dome spherical 
curves being ensured by the application of movable templets. 
But for the upper part of the pendentive closely boarded centering 
was necessary, and to support this, at the bottom, a projecting 
stone landing was built in, on the top of the brick corbelling, the 
projection being afterwards worked off. To secure bond for the 
concrete backing of this upper part, and to distribute the bearing, 
6-in. stone landings are built in at intervals in the height, across 
the angles formed by the enclosing spandrel walls. 

" Projecting courses of brick are also formed on these walls, 
to serve as a key to the concrete. To limit the weight the top 
part of the pendentive has no solid backing ; it is, in fact, built 
as part of a dome, having a shell 2 ft. 6 in. in thickness, but on this 
shell radiating counterforts or ribs are formed, that incline up to 
the base of the dome, and on these counterforts there are light 
sleeper walls that support the flat roofing around. 

" To ventilate the cavities 4|-in. drain pipes were inserted in 
the shell and counterforts communicating with the interior of the 
building. Constructionally, the pendentives may be regarded as 
corbels by which the weight of the domes is not merely sustained, 
but is directed to the piers." 

Section H— H and Plans C, C"— D and E— F in the sheet of 
diagrams on page 89 serve to illustrate the above details. 

Three months later, that is in May 1899, these great arches, 
rising vast and impressive 90 ft. from the pavement, were com- 
pleted. Turned also were the barrel vaults that span the spaces 
between the principal and intermediate piers and enclose the 
upper clerestory windows. On the ground floor the comparatively 
thin divisional walls, such as those to the porch cnti'ance in Am- 
brosden Avenue, and those of the chapel and lobby in the north 
transept, were in course of construction. It had not been con- 


sidcred advisable to build them sooner, lest risk should be incurred 
from the pressure of the enormously massive walls adjoining. 
The underground vaulting was in hand, having been delayed till 
this period for the same reason. 

The staircases at the eastern angle of the transepts were then 
practicable ; their steps are of artificial stone, a material harder 
than any known natural stone and so durable that it may rightly 
lay claim to the title of everlasting. Composed of Portland cement 
and granite reduced to a powder, the steps were cast in moulds and 
then immersed in a silicate bath. The finished steps were pinned 
into the outer circular walls, and carried on the inner side on cast 
corbels of the artificial stone built into a large hard newel of brick. 
The same material and method were employed in the other stair- 

In June it was announced that the brick and stone work 
(exclusive of that of the campanile) had been carried up to their 
full height, and that it only remained to finish the various turrets, 
when the external scaffolding would be struck and the brickwork 
pointed as this descended. 

At the east end, the first portion of the vaulting begun was 
that of the apse of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel ; then followed 
the ceiling over the choir, and then the sanctuary dome. From 
this time, the interior of the cathedral almost resembled a great 
forest, whose trees had been suddenly struck dead and stripped of 
bark and foliage by some huge shock of nature. These vast 
avenues of timber, designed to carry the wooden centering of the 
domes, were constructed with such scientific skill and strength 
as has never before been required in any ecclesiastical building 
in this country, save perhaps the dome of St. Paul's. 

" The domical construction, the direct outcome of the archi- 
tect's plan," says Mr. Charles Hadfield,' " cost him much thought 
and exercise of the inborn Yorkshire caution which characterised 
him through life. At one period his idea had been to save much 
centering by using cast segments of a sphere and building them up 

1 Paper read before the Royal Institute of Britisli Architects, March 1903. 


into domes. This, no doubt, was a practical constructive scheme, 
but probably it would have had a tendency to thrust outwards, and 
it was by degrees that he came to abandon this method for that of 
a homogeneous mass of concrete thrown on to a centering (really 
the expensive part of the method). I submit that this outlay has 
been proved to be a true economy, both in the light of results 
obtained and, possibly, of the outlay incurred. Had his first idea 
been carried out, the construction might have been a less perfect 
one than that of the dome of San Vitale, Ravenna {i.e. a spiral 
coil of earthenware tubes, with grooved socketed joints, and old 
amphorae set vertically) ; and, moreover, liable to the constructive 
failures which the history of our craft tells us have occurred time 
after time since the age of Justinian." 

Bentley had from the beginning decided to avoid the use of 
iron, for wherever there is iron there will be some expansion under 
heat, and determined to trust for the roofing of his domes wholly 
to concrete made of Portland cement and broken brick. As to 
wood, it was avoided with the exception of a very sparing use of 
oak timber in the roofs of the apsidal choir and the transepts and 
of teak in the upper stages of the campanile. His strong convic- 
tions on the subject of girder-composite construction found ex- 
pression in a letter to Mr. Hadfield on January 13th, 1902. The 
architect had met Mr. Norman Shaw and Professor Lethaby in 
the cathedral a short while previously, when the latter was pre- 
paring an article on the subject for the Architectural Review, in 
which it appeared in January 1902. Writing to his old friend 
partly in reference to this appreciation of Professor Lethaby's 
(which had given him keen pleasure), he said : " I feel that the old 
principle of construction is carried on, and that curse of modern 
construction and source of decay- — the use of iron — has been 
avoided, against the consensus of opinion expressed by the en- 
gineers. This much I am proud of, for I feel that a service to 
building has been effected, and that I have disproved and broken 
the backbone of that terrible superstition, that the use of iron is 
necessary to long spans." 



The centering for the domes consisted of radiating trusses 
supported from the ground on uprights 90 ft. in height, made of 



shof'irig^mjjjffemen t of 
J^firrk ^hstfibha catering Uxjjames 

FlO. 22. 

stout planking bolted together, so as to break joint, and cross- 
braced at intervals. The perfect rigidity of this centering 


was a matter of the first importance, in order that the true 
curvature of the concrete might be preserved until it had 
thoroughly set. 

The concrete for all the coverings, domes and others, was com- 
posed of four parts of broken brick to one part of Portland cement, 
mixed carefully together with the least possible quantity of water, 
the broken brick having been well saturated before the cement 
was added. Prepared on a stage erected in proximity to the dome 
or vault, it was thrown on to the boarded centre, previously 
sanded to prevent adhesion, in rings varying from 3 to 5 ft. deep, 
screeded on the upper surface to a graduated thickness, to ensure 
absolute uniformity in longitudinal and latitudinal sections. 
During the very hot weather, the domes were sprinkled with 
water, while in process of turning, to prevent the concrete setting 
too quickly. The broken brick was very carefully freed of old 
mortar and any other foreign matter, in order to increase both the 
strength and the tensile property of the concrete. 

The age of the cement was a factor of prime importance. A 
warning, slight though not to be disregarded, had been received 
after the turning of the choir arch. Examination revealed that 
there the brickwork had risen from the centre on which it was 
built an inch and a half, while the great transverse arches across 
the nave, that are 10 ft. wider, had only risen half an inch. This 
difference of expansion was entirely attributable to the age of the 
cement ; that employed in the latter case was used nine weeks, 
and in the former about six weeks, after manufacture. Thus it 
was of vital necessity that the cement employed in the domes — 
where there is a body of material 66 ft. in diameter and about 
700 tons in weight, starting with a thickness of 3 ft. and diminish- 
ing towards the crown to 13 in. — should be thoroughly well 
seasoned. Otherwise, the pressure on the clerestory walls, thick 
as they are, would be more than they could withstand. The 
prudent resolve to allow a wide margin of safety sent forth the 
architect's fiat that no cement should be used until it had been at 
least thirteen weeks on the site. During this time it was stored 


in bins, in which it was periodically turned over, and its tempera- 
ture taken with equal regularity. 

The ensuing fourteen months was a time of great anxiety 
for the architect and his clerks of the works. Mr. Lamb during 
1898 had been away from the Westminster works ; Bentley 
needing him to take charge of the chapel and additions to their 
house then in progress for the Franciscan nuns at Braintree, 
Essex. The convent work was practically finished by the end of 
May 1899 ; when the architect, feeling that the supervision at 
Westminster was too heavy for Mr. Mullis, single-handed, recalled 
his assistant and allocated to him especially the supervision of 
the concreting of the domes, which as he said " required carefully 
and constantly watching." 

The easternmost dome of the nave was turned first, its centering 
being in position early in June, together with that for the vault and 
apse of the " monks' choir," while at this date some of the small 
vaults at the west end were completed. The centering of the 
sanctuary dome and pendentives was also in preparation, and this 
dome was turned next, though as it differs in certain respects from 
the three roofing the nave, we will defer its description till these 
have been further dealt with. The construction of the middle 
dome of the nave followed, and finally that of the westernmost. 

" The circle developed by the pendentives," says Mr. Marshall,' 
" is 60 ft. in diameter ; the base of the dome is corbelled over 
from this, so that the springing is clearly defined and a salient 
angle at the junction of the two surfaces is thus avoided, for the 
convenience of the mosaic workers of a future generation. . . . 
The independent external covering of the domes is formed of 3 in. 
artificial stone slabs, cast to the curve. They rest on radiating 
ribs 5 in. deep of similar material, fixed on the concrete and rebated 
to receive the slabs, thus leaving an air space of 2 in. between 
the inner shell and the outer covering, the object being to render 
the temperature of the interior more uniform. The top and 
bottom joints of the slabs are rebated. At the springing and at 

^ loc. cit. 


the crown, the spaces between the ribs are left open for ventilation, 
and to prevent the wet being driven into the cavities at the top 
a circular raised curb is formed on the top edge of the upper slabs 
over which is placed a domical capping that allows the air to 
circulate freely. A reference to the diagram on page 89 will 
make this clearer (details at A and B). 

" To form the outer covering more than 600 slabs were re- 
quired for each dome ; the exposed surface is therefore an elaborate 
network of jointing. ... By rebating the ribs for the slabs 
each radiating section of the covering is kept in position inde- 
pendently of the rest. The concrete flat roofing around the domes 
is covered with asphalte that passes up the lower portion of the 
dome to a height of about 4 ft. 6 in., under the outer covering, 
where it is keyed into the concrete." 

All the asphalting of the flats, here and elsewhere, was carried 
out by the Val de Travers Company. 

The sanctuary dome differs, as we have seen, materially from 
those of the nave. These seem to rest on the flat roofing of the 
church, while the former " emerges gradually out of the substruc- 
ture — the extrados of the pendentivcs forming a pyramidal series 
of offsets or steps, that follow the plan of the dome (see diagonal 
section, p. 93, and Plate XI, facing p. 80). The reason for thus 
exposing the pendentives outside was to limit the height of the 
supporting walls on the north and south, so as to give greater 
elegance to the eastern turrets and to bring this part of the building 
into closer harmony with the choir. To further this object, the 
vaults over the organ galleries are also exposed, the whole group 
presenting a subtle gradation of parts, more Oriental than the rest 
of the building, and perhaps more expressive of the internal 

" The circle developed by the pendentives is 52 ft, in diameter. 
On the closely boarded centering for this dome other centering 
had to be constructed for the window openings, the reveals of 
which represent a series of counterforts all round the dome. 
Centering had also to be constructed for the wall of the drum or 



circular podium, designed to disguise the counterforts and to 
protect the glazing from the drainage of the dome. The cavities 




Fig. 23. — Diagram of Sitppokt akd Abutment of Sanctoaby Dome. 

— between this wall and the shell of the dome — are covered by 
slabs of concrete, weathered to a sunk gutter or channel near the 
outer edge that conveys the water to projecting spouts or gargoyles 


placed between the windows. The flat of the drum is covered 
with asphalte that passes partly up the dome, under the outer 
covering, as before described. The exposed vaulting and the 
pendentives around the dome are also asphalted ; the wall of the 
podium is cemented. All cavities are ventilated by drain-pipes 
communicating with the outer air." 

Having completed this survey of the dome construction and 
other roofing, it is necessary to return to the interior of the 
cathedral and consider the arrangement of its upper levels. But 
before finally taking leave of the subject of the roofing, it would 
be well to dwell briefly on two questions — questions of material 
and form referring to singularities in the construction — raised 
by Mr. Marshall in his paper. Asking, " Why should the 
vaulting, in some cases, be entirely of concrete, and in others, 
entirely of brick ? " he replies, " Obviously, where the shell of 
the vaulting is of a graduated thickness and curved on plan, con- 
crete is the strongest and most adaptable material to use ; the 
complications of groin vaulting are also most readily cast in this 
material. So we find for the pendentives and domes, for the 
vaulting of the choir and chapels, for the more complicated vault- 
ing of the crypt, aisles, baptistery, and porches, concrete has been 
used ; but for the vaulting of the transepts and the corresponding 
vaulting of the triforia, brick is the material employed, in order 
that the deep soffits of the brick-supporting arches in front may 
appear as part of the vaulting behind, and the line of junction of 
the two should not show ; thus ensuring a uniformity of surface 
texture, until the unaffected dignity of the interior is impaired 
by the application of something more assertive and restless." 

The second question regards the contrariety of the roofing. 
" Why should some of the vaulting be protected by extraneous 
roofs ; while in other places its surface is fully exposed to the 
weather ? . . . A timber roof over the nave and sanctuary, even 
of low pitch, would have been uncouth and harsh ; such a roof 
would have been commonplace. . . . But there is a law of con- 
trast as well as of analogy. ... At the Westminster Cathedral 

(A) Blrd 1<'ini.i_l UN Campanile. 

(B) Detail, North-West Pokch, 

(C) Detail of West Facade. Engaged 

Shaft to Left of Central Doorway. 

The Dark Portion is Temporary Glazing, since 
Replaced by Great Door. 

(D) FiNiAX L'Koss OF Campanile. 

Plate XIII. — Four Details of External Ornament. 


Plate XIV. — View, fkom Tribune, of Nave, looking East. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



the most striking instances of its application are afforded by the 
campanile and by the roofs and turrets of the transepts, and the 
choir. Structurally, it would have been quite possible and more 
consistent to have exposed the vaulting outside throughout the 
building. . . . But the Greeks did not always expose their statues 
to the cold ; they appreciated, quite as much as we do, the charm 
of the rippling garment. . . . And so, at the Westminster 
Cathedral, the rounded surfaces of the vaulting are not everywhere 
exposed, but discreetly concealed, in places, by extraneous roofs 
suggestive, in a measure, of the forms beneath. A piquancy and 
an interest are thus imparted to the design." 

The galleries throughout the cathedral — that is, those of the 
nave, the west end, and the organ tribunes of the sanctuary — are 
independent factors of the construction and were not added till 
the main parts were built. They are all vaulted in concrete, which 
vaultinsr in the case of the eastern tribunes and that of the west 
end is, to avoid weakening them, not let into the walls at the back, 
but supported on corbelling of brick and stone ; to ensure strength, 
the concrete was keyed to the wall by projecting courses of brick. 
Furthermore, gunmetal ties in the case of the organ galleries are 
inserted to tie the columns supporting the vaulting to the brick 
wall behind ; in the western gallery these metal ties are at the 
level of its floor, " where the wall of the narthex has most resist- 
ance." Conditions in the nave are, of course, different ; the side 
galleries have no supporting wall at the back, except that next 
the campanile ; but the main piers provide the necessary resistance 
to any forward tendency while the arcades carrying the vaulting 
are comparatively short. 

Before the groining of the aisles and narthex and the arcade 
across the transepts could be completed, the marble columns 
supporting this and the galleries above had to be in place. In 
1896 subscriptions had been invited for the twenty-one nave 
and transept monoliths, for the six large ones in the sanctuary 
and the fourteen smaller ones in the sanctuary tribunes. An 
account of these marbles will be found in a later chapter. By 


May 1899 only five columns of the twenty-one required for the 
body of the church had been subscribed for as votive offerings, 
though the order for the complete number had long before been 
given. There was delay, owing to the vicissitudes of war, in the 
delivery of some, which were seized by the Turks, then in conflict 
with Greece, during the summer of 1897. However, eventually 
the marbles were released and reached their destination without 
further mischance. By December 1900 all were paid for and in 
position, and the peregrination of the galleries was complete about 
two months later. 

It was impossible that the cathedral could be ready for opening 
in the previous September, as Cardinal Vaughan had hoped; the 
roofing of some of the side chapels was still incomplete, although, 
as we have seen, the nave, sanctuary, choir, transepts, aisles, 
baptistery and the two lateral chapels of the east end were 
covered. By Christmas Day it was possible to ascend internally 
by the staircases at the outer aisles of the sanctuary to the dome 
level, and from the small balconies at this great elevation to 
obtain an excellent idea of the grandeur and size of the almost 
developed building. The various levels of the floor of the 
sanctuary were then being formed. The crypt below was com- 
plete structurally, and so were the sacristies, with the exception 
of the plasterer's work. 

It was also possible at that date to judge to some extent of the 
effect of the careful scheme of lighting ; the terracotta lattices 
of the great semi-circular windows of the sanctuary and the west 
end being in their places, and those of the clerestory in process of 
being fixed. These terracottas came from the famous factories 
of Doulton at Lambeth and are of various designs. The photo- 
graphs show some of these, and also the method of building up 
the trellises with cast segments. The patterns of the leaded 
glazing enclosed in the openings of terra-cotta are equally varied, 
and are composed, as noted in the previous chapter, of faintly 
toned flint glass of great brilliancy and varying thicknesses. 

Externally, the composition of the great western doorway 



was complete, with the exception of the 
carving of the medallions and (of course) the 
mosaic in the tympanum ; most of the scaffold- 
ing had been removed from the outside of the 
building, what remained being left till the 
finishing of the pointing and the cleaning of 
the stonework could be taken in hand in the 

Having now treated in general of the con- 
struction and progress of the body of the 
cathedral, it remains but to speak of the cam- 
panile or bell-tower, which shows externally 
regular 3-ft. courses of the small hard red 
bricks, banded with 12-in. courses of Portland 
stone, till a height of 185 ft. is reached. Here 
the upward sweep of the shaft is diversified 
on each of its four sides by a balcony with 
coupled arches, which breaks the monotony 
of the banding of brick and stone and leads 
the eye up to the elaborate treatment of the 
higher stages. 

Tliirty feet square at the base, the tower 
diminishes from the point at which it springs 
clear of the main building by a gentle batter of 
only 7 inches till it reaches a height of 218 ft., 
when its plain solidity is further lightened by 
means of an arcaded balcony of stone and 
brick, with buttress-like projections capped by 
small turrets at the four angles. Its four 
arched openings on each side of the tower are 
supported alternately on stone columns and 
piers of brick and stone. 

In plan the campanile now assumes a 
polygonal form, the twelve buttresses of the 
gallery being continued upwards to support a 


Fia. 24. — Section 
THROUGH Campanile, 

74 FT. 9 IN. 


drum which terminates in a graceful dome or cupola, covered 
with decorated lead-work. Further details of the sculptural 
stonework of these higher stages are given in the ensuing 
chapter, so that it will be superfluous to dwell further upon 
them here. 

The tower measures 273 ft. to the top of the cupola and another 
11 ft. to the summit of the bronze finial cross, and consists of 
ten stories. On the ground floor is the registry, entered from 
the north aisle, a room with octagonal vaulting, whence access 
to the upper floors is by means of a spacious staircase of teak. 
Those hardy enough to make the ascent must be prepared to 
negotiate 374 steps before gaining the summit. Each of the 
upper floors is lighted by four small segmental-headed lights, one 
on each face of the tower, till the eighth story is attained ; here, 
the balconies already referred to give light and ventilation, pro- 
tected with parapets of pierced and latticed stonework. 

The campanile was erected, after it had attained the height of 
the adjoining chapel roofs, by means of internal scaffolding, men 
and materials being conveyed upwards in baskets worked on a 
band by a small donkey engine in the nave. The pointing being 
done as the work proceeded, no external scaffolding was required 
until the construction of the cupola began. In the difficult work 
of covering-in, it was necessary to raise outside scaffolding. By 
December 1900 the tower had reached a height of 182 ft.; when 
the architect visited the building for the last time on March 1st, 
1902, it had grown another 40 ft. ; but was not actually finished 
till 1903, when Mr. Mullis retired ' from the supervision of the 
work, leaving Mr. Lamb to take charge of what still remained to 
be done. Messrs. Shillitoe having removed from the site at an 
earlier date, the campanile was finished by independent labour, 

■ When Mr. Mullis was leaving the cathedral after his eight years of devoted super- 
vision Cardinal Vaughan sent for him to say good-bye, and just before he left the room 
presented to him the ivory cruci6x which was standing on his writing-table. " This," he 
said, " has always been on my table ever since I was ordained, and I give it to you as a 
memento of my appreciation of your long and faithful service as clerk of the 


engaged by and working under the direct control of the clerks of 
the works. 

The foundations and construction of the cathedral (including 
the tower) had occupied a period of eight years, when in June 
1903 it was opened for the first great solemnity within its walls, 
the body of the Cardinal Founder being borne over the threshold 
to lie in state beneath the domes he had raised in the plenitude 
of enthusiasm and energy. 



Western Facade : Main features, dimensions, main arch, tympanum, entrances, doors, 
colonnade — Loggie flanking great arch, its dedicatory inscription, balustrade of balcony 
over portico, narthex fenestration and vaulting, west end of nave, turrets of west 
end, staircase turrets, baptistery fenestration, loggia and roof, Cardinal Vaughan's 
arms— North-west porch windows and details of entrance and loggia — Campanile, 
measurements, structural details, windows, balcony, colonnades, cupola, cross, 
naming and dedication, bell " Edward." North Elevation: Length, general impres- 
sions, details of fenestration, lead-work — Transept, entrance, details of walls and 
roofing, staircase turret, loggia — Blessed Sacrament Chapel. East End: Sanctuary 
abutments, connecting bridges, apse buttresses and podium, crypt windows, windows 
of choir, open colonnade of apse, roof of apse, terminal cross, exterior gallery between 
eastern piers, bells in south-east turret — Sacristy roof and windows. South Eleva- 
tion: Absence of certain decorative features, Lady Chapel windows — Ascent to the 
roof, inspection of flats round domes of nave, construction of domical coverings, 
sanctuary dome, construction and differences of measurement, etc. — Prof. 
Lethaby's appreciation of exterior. 

Coming upon the north-west corner of the cathedral precinct 
from Victoria Street, the eye, immediately caught and drawn 
heavenwards by the soaring campanile, " straight as the Sword 
of Justice and of Right," ' descends, on a nearer approach, to 
dwell upon the beautiful western facade. 

In the chapter dealing with the plan we have seen how the 
design for the west front was materially affected by certain 
limitations imposed by rights of light and air ; whence the double 
terraces and the recession of the upper portions of this elevation 
(Plate III). The portico, with its noble arch, stands forward, 
therefore, bold and inviting ; while behind and above it appears 
the narthex, set back some 20 ft. ; higher yet rises the turreted 
terminal wall of the nave, pierced with its great west window and 

' E. Vincent Wareing, " Tenebrse in Westminster Cathedral in 1907," Cathedral 



recessed a further 20 ft. Right and left the porch is flanked by 
the two staircase turrets, surmounted by small lead-covered domes, 
without doubt the most distinctively Byzantine feature of the 
fa9ade whose southern end is occupied by the baptistery, its flat 
roof on a level with the balcony over the great arch. The north- 
west porch, an extension of similar proportions, balances the 
baptistery at the other end of the facade. These are the main 
features of the composition, the width being 156 ft. and the 
height, not including tlie turrets, 99 ft. It should be premised 
that in all measurements of external height the datum is the floor 
of the nave, which is raised by four steps above the level of the 
street paving. 

We come now to the details of the main entrance, inspired by 
their designer's vivid and fertile fancy. The central State or 
Episcopal entrance and the two lateral doorways for the laity 
are sheltered beneath a deeply recessed arch, measuring no less 
than 40 ft. in span ' and 21 ft. 9 in. to the springing. The radius 
of its intrados measures 12 ft. 1 in., of the extrados, 20 ft. 4 in. ; 
the centre of these segments being 3 in. below the springing. Its 
receding orders are supported on three columns of the colormade, 
whose entablature is carried unbrokenly over the lesser doorways 
to meet the architrave of the great door. The inner mouldings, 
carried out in Portland stone, consist successively of an enriched 
bead, a cyma-recta with acanthus leaf carving, a double billet, a 
roll and another bead. Follows a triple astragal in stone, articu- 
lated with narrower voussoirs of brick, and divided from the next 
member in stone by a couple of fillets in moulded brick. Succeeding 
these comes a pair of torus mouldings separated by a single billet, 
and then again the triple torus with brick voussoirs, varied from 
the former by gradually increasing the breadth of these, the red 
banding thus being two bricks wide in the first bead, three in the 
second and four in the third. Yet another couple of moulded 
brick fillets, and then a rich and original ovolo precedes the boldly 
projecting dentils and outer moulding of the arch. 

^ Four feet wider than that of St. Mark's, Venice. 


The tympanum thus enclosed remains at this date ' still in a 
primitive condition of stock-brick ; it measures 27 ft. across and 
will ultimately contain a mosaic picture of our Lord and several 
of the patron saints of the Church's dedication. The original, 
a very slight sketch, by Bentley has formed the basis of the design, 
with the difference, inter alia, that the two outer figures of the 
group are portrayed kneeling instead of standing, as he had them. 
For further details of this mosaic the reader must be referred to 
the tenth chapter of this book. Its estimated cost is £735, and 
benefactors have been invited to subscribe the price of the 
individual figures of the composition, with the result that those 
of St. Edward and St. Joseph are already provided for. 

The central doorway, measuring 16 ft. 9 in. high and 10 ft. 6 in. 
broad, its framing moulded and panelled in restrained and delicate 
detail (Plate IV), is crowned with a lunette-shaped architrave 
sculptured in low relief with a pair of flying angels bearing the 
Sacred Host and chalice enclosed within a laurel wreath. The 
lateral entrances, intended for the daily use of the laity, measure 
10 ft. high and 5 ft. wide, and have carved upon their architraves 
peacocks, symbolic of eternal life ; the birds support with their 
beaks laurel chaplets encircling the divine symbols Alpha, over 
the left door, and Omega over that on the right. Between the 
head of each door and the entablature of the colonnade occurs 
a pair of rectangular openings filled with strap-work latticing of 
stone ; these lattices, outlined with cable mouldings surmounted 
with interlacing swags of flowers and foliage, are instinct with 
extreme elegance and refinement of feeling. Plate XIII (C). 

The panelled double-leaved doors made of teak are adorned 
with gammida?, plates, hinges, and bosses of bronze ; in which 
also are wrought the grilles effectively diversifying the four upper 
panels. The lesser doors are of similar design. Reference to 
the east elevation, p. 61, reveals the fact that the architect 
designed doors of far more sumptuous construction ; in fact the 

' This was written in 1913; the mosaic lias since been completed from a design by 
Mr. Aiming Bell. 


wood was to be overlaid with plates of bronze, like the famous 
doors of St. Mark's at Venice. He died before the order for them 
was given, and eventually considerations of expense set aside his 
drawings, Mr. Marshall being desired to plan something less 
costly. The latter's design was carried out by Messrs. Elliot, of 

Flanking the entrances is the graceful colonnade, consisting of 
nine columns on either side, whose pedestals interspaced with 
niches, rest on a podium of granite. Five of the columns are 
free, the remaining four being more or less engaged in the angles 
of the walling. The one thus placed right and left of the central 
doorway carries the termination of the entablature ; eight corre- 
spond with the orders of the great arch and its lateral balconies. 
The shafts are adorned with fluting, alternately straight and 
waved, for the space of 2 ft. 3 in. below their annulets, beneath 
capitals of most delicate and beautiful profile, no two alike, all 
inspired by the architect's rich and varied fancy, and vital with 
extraordinary interest. 

Based on Byzanto-Ionic and Byzanto-Corinthian models, 
four of these caps are variants of the Bird and Basket type, 
the symbols of the evangelists replacing the conventional bird ; 
the Angel of St. Matthew and the Lion of St. Mark will be seen 
in Plate IV, which also illustrates in part the details of the door- 
ways, the great arch and its left-hand loggia. A lion's head 
gargoyle is placed " north " and " south " upon the cornice. 

Encircling ribbons at the base of the above-mentioned fluting 
carry oval, enwreathed, inter-columnar medallions, five on either 
side, sculptured with demi-figures of twelve illustrious Archbishops 
of Canterbury, whose names and dates appear on stone tablets 
affixed to the wall behind the colonnade. This wall has the 
appearance of rustication, produced by the introduction of thin 
brick courses between the stone. The archbishops represented 
are : Left of the entrance, St. Augustine, 597 ; St. Laurentius, 
604, and St. Mellitus, 619 (in one medallion) ; St. Justus, 624, and 
St. Honorius, 627 (also a pair) ; St. Theodore, 668 ; St. Dunstan, 


960. Right are, St. Elphege, 1005 ; St. Anselm, 1093 ; St. Thomas, 
1162 ; St. Edmund, 1234 ; B. Boniface, 1254. 

The facade was achieved before Bentley's death, with the 
exception of the carving of these busts, which were subsequently 
put in hand by the Cardinal's orders ; an independent action 
which affords an explanation of their regrettable variation from 
the extremely low relief in which their execution was designed by 
the architect. Had the correct technique been employed, the 
unpleasant effect of overcrowding and the just criticism levelled 
at them that the heads appear as though looking out of windows 
would have been avoided. 

The columns of the upper order, numbering six on either side, 
support the charming arcading of the loggie flanking the great 
arch and its balcony above. Their plain shafts, crowned with 
caps of Corinthian inspiration, spring from bases resting on the 
stone balconies, which are adorned with panels, richly carved in 
geometric and foliated designs on their front projections. Sym- 
bolic outspread wings are carved on the spandrels of the arcading. 
Stone doorways give access to the loggie from the turret stairways. 
The eye, travelling higher, next rests upon the dedicatory in- 
scription proclaimed in bold stone lettering upon the centre panel 
of the balustrade over the great arch : 


The lateral panels are adorned with two rows of quatrefoils 
carved within square coffering. Behind this balcony are seen the 
three tall windows of the tribune (Plate V), set in masonry in 
which brick is now the predominant partner. Between its but- 
tresses the wall is adorned with an arcaded corbel table, above 
which rises a pediment arranged with herringbone brickwork 
between stone verticals, surcharged with a central panel of stone. 
This effective alliance of horizontal and vertical banding, herring- 
boning, together with fluted brickwork, is continued over the west 
wall of the nave whose twin stone-domed turrets from the 


triforium level continue the stairway to the roof. Asphalte forms 
the surface covering on the extrados of the tribune vaulting, 
whose curved surface may be seen in the photograph of the south 
half of the west window of the nave (Plate VI). Therein also 
should be noted the effective lattices in these octagonal turrets, 
repeated on every secondary pier of the building, their gleaming 
white domes soaring in pleasing contrast to the sombre leaded 
coverings of the staircase towers below. The architect's design 
for the west elevation shows that he intended to finish the little 
buttresses of these upper turrets with bird finials in stone, which 
have been omitted. 

Plate VII illustrates the polygonal balcony and domical ter- 
mination of the south-west staircase tower, viewed from the flat 
leads of the baptistery roof, and shows also the entrance to the 
higher turret staircase just mentioned, and the outside gallery 
linking this staircase to the passage above the clerestory, whose 
sloping roof is punctuated with a series of dormer windows. 
(See also " General View from the South-West," Plate III.) 

The lower part of the baptistery being unfortunately partly 
hidden in the latter plate by the spreading tree, such details as 
are wanting may be discovered, though in greatly reduced scale, 
in the drawing of the west elevation. The large semi-circular 
terracotta latticed window and the charming arcaded loggia above 
it are most interesting features ; the four columns of this last 
being capped in markedly Corintho-Byzantine fashion. Two 
windows within the loggia give light to the private chamber over 
the baptistery, the parapet of whose flat leaded roof is adorned 
with a series of pierced lozenges of stone. High up on the right 
one notes Cardinal Vaughan's arms, surmounted by a cardinal's 
hat, carved upon a narrow upright stone panel, a detail approvingly 
remarked by Mr. Bernard Whelan as " a seeming accident which 
is an inspiration of decorative intention." The same writer 
praises this little wing of the baptistery as " in its spontaneous 
gaiety of composition, a recurring delight." ' 

' Westminster Cathedral Consecration Handbook, p. 43. 


At the opposite comer of the fa9ade we find tlie composition 
balanced by a similar extension devoted to the north-west porch. 
It is minus the loggia and the great terracotta lunette that are 
features of the baptistery front ; but is lighted by a pair of triple- 
light windows, over which are small lattices in terracotta. The 
windows of the upper room are similarly set within arches of 
fluted brick ; from their springing to the coping-stone of the roof 
parapet, herringbone detail adorns the wall. 

Turning the corner to view the north side, we find the spacious 
entrance of this porch (Plate VIII), four steps above the street 
level, second only in importance to that of the west end, and in 
direct line with the narthex. The composition includes an arch, 
deep on soffite, borne by a pair of elegant fluted columns, whose 
bases rest on the projecting granite podium. The wall posterior 
to each column is deeply recessed, the entablature, with acanthus 
cornice, being carried round to meet the architrave of the door. 
The deep soffite is coffered in square compartments, each carved 
in relief with a double-armed Greek cross, while a beautiful detail 
of vine leaves and grapes adorns the archivolt. Above the door 
we note the symbol of Constantine's sacred and victorious banner 
sculptured within a wreath of laurel leaves. 

The doors, made of teak simply panelled and with plain and 
inconspicuous bronge hinge plates and fastenings, differ vastly 
from the superb portals indicated in Bentley's design of the north 
elevation, neither does the latter contain the quartette of circular 
enwreathed medallions sculptured, a pair each side of the entrance, 
with busts of renowned doctors of the Church. St. Augustine, 
Bishop of Hippo and Pope St. Gregory on the left represent the 
early Fathers ; St. Francis of Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori on 
the right typify the later exponents of the Church's doctrine. 
These details were added by Bentley, in place of the other decora- 
tive work indicated, after the original drawing of this elevation 
was made. 

Within the spandrels are two more medallions, oval and similarly 
wreathed, containing half-figures of patron saints, St. Peter the 


Key bearer (left), and St, Edward the Confessor (right), to whom the 
campanile is specially dedicated, holding a model of Westminster 
Abbey. The upper story of the porch has a loggia, whose twin 
arches spring from an Ionic column rising from the balustrade. 
Most beautiful and worthy of admiration is the wall treatment 
above this opening. Narrow vertical stone panels, bordered with a 
billet moulding, alternate with bands of herringbone brickwork, 
terminating alike beneath the coping in a series of stone panels, 
similarly bordered and centred with a circular moulded boss. 
Lions' heads, with scroll work boldly carved upon the cornice, 
correspond in position and number to the stone panels beneath 
(Plate XIII). The tympanum of the north-west porch will 
eventually receive a mosaic panel, representing the Blessed Virgin 
seated with the Child and two attendant saints, if Bentley's idea, 
sketched in the drawing, is ever carried out. 

Adjoining the porch the campanile, in original and striking 
beauty, rises from its granite base. Lombardic in type, it measures 
30 ft. square, and tapers, as we have seen, very slightly through 
the upper part of its height, being gathered from the square to an 
octagon at an altitude of 225 ft. It is crowned by a teak-framed 
cupola, covered with lead, and terminates in a majestic patriarchal 
cross of bronze ; bringing the total height of this combination of 
strength and grace up to 284 ft.' From granite plinth to leaded 
dome the tower is faced with red brick and Portland stone, mainly 
in horizontal banding, the stone being employed in increasing 
quantity and variety of detail as the summit is approached. 

The long delicate curve of its wall surface is fluted, the flutes 
being square in section, while interest is enhanced at each succeeding 
stage by the refined and varied treatment of the openings. The 
registry on the ground floor is lighted from the north by a large six- 
light window, with rectangular leaded glazing, framed within a brick 
arch ; the next floor has a smaller arcuated opening enclosing 
a pair of rectangular lights. The north and west sides of the 

* The campanile of Giotto at Florence has the advantage, being 292 ft. high. 


third story are adorned with a sevenfold blind arcading of slight 
projection, with a small window occupying the upper half of the 
central recess. The fourth story springs clear of the main building 
and, together with the three succeeding, is pierced on every side 
by a single small rectangular window set in the upper half of 
semi-circular headed panels recessed in the masonry. At the 
eighth floor a charming balcony delights the aesthetic sense ; 
opening, on every aspect, by means of a pair of arches, column- 
borne within a containing arch, whose voussoirs alternate in 
brick and stone, and whose tympanum, pierced with a central 
polygonal opening, is filled with the familiar brick herringboning 
between stone verticals. The capitals of columns and pilasters 
are of Ionic descent, the convex balustrades between being of 
stone, carved and pierced. 

Above these balconies an arcaded corbel-table carries the eye 
upward to the bold horizontal-banded cornice and its segmental 
projections at the angles, whence spring the four turreted but- 
tresses (pierced with openings that the circuit of the tower may 
be uninterrupted) of the colonnade on the ninth story. The 
sixteen arches of this colonnade are borne on alternate piers and 
columns, the former, with pomegranate finials, being carried above 
the entablature to support the arcading of the tenth story. Here 
there are twelve arched openings, yet further set back, the inter- 
vening wall being pierced with pairs of small unglazed windows to 
give light and air to the chamber within. 

Vertical brick and stone banding faces the parapet surmounting 
the arcade, a dozen boldly carved stone eagles being set upon the 
coping at the points of intersection by the buttresses. Symbols 
of the architect's patron saint, they keep watch and ward at the 
base of the circular drum, whose lower half is faced with horizontal 
banding, its upper adorned with twelve stone panels, some sculp- 
tured in low relief with ileur de lys, some with pierced grille work. 
Two of the solid panels are arranged alternately with one of the 
latter. Upon the circle described by the stone cornice of this drum 
are built the piers to c arry the teak-framed cupola, with its orna- 

Plate XV. — View of Interior, from Choir, looking West. 
{Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


Plate XVI. — A Bay of the Nave. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



mental lead roofing, from which springs the simple yet majestic 
terminal cross. This gradual " recession from the summit of the 
square of the tower to its finial cross," says Mr. Bernard Whelan, 
" is a culminating joy of design." Plate XIII (D). 

The patriarchal cross, made of bronze by Messrs. Elsley & Co. 
and measuring a height of 11 ft., was not cast, but was wrought 
in parts and bolted together. A small relic of the True Cross was 
enshrined within it before it was fixed upon the summit of the 

St. Edward the Confessor was chosen as the patron saint of the 
campanile on the occasion of the Coronation of King Edward VII ; 
two days later the daily papers of August 11th, 1902, made the 
fact public in the following announcement : " The Cardinal Arch- 
bishop intends to dedicate the campanile of Westminster Cathedral, 
now nearly completed, to St. Edward, and it will henceforth be 
called ' St. Edward's Tower.' It will thus be a monument to 
the great Saint and King whose body lies in Westminster Abbey, 
and its name will date from the Coronation Day of His Majesty 
King Edward the Seventh, St. Edward's successor to the Crown 
of England." 

The formal blessing and dedication took place two months 
later on the feast of the saintly king, October 13th. After the 
celebration of High Mass in the Chapter Hall, clergy and choir 
ascended to the summit of the tower, and there took part in a 
dedicatory service, which included the singing of the offertory for 
St. Edward's Day, " Veritas Mea," the antiphon " Tu es Petrus," 
the hymn " Iste Confessor," followed by the antiphon, versicle, 
and prayer of St. Edward, and concluded with the prescribed 
prayer for the King. 

The campanile possesses but one bell, " Edward," the gift of the 
Duchess of Norfolk, cast by Messrs. Mears & Stainbank at their 
ancient foundry in Whitechapel, established over three centuries 
ago. Though very similar to the famous " Bow Bell," the tenor of 
the peal at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, cast by the 
same firm in 1738, the cathedral bell has the advantage in size. 


It is 2 cwt. larger, 2 in. greater in diameter, and a little deeper in 
tone than its prototype. The casting took place in the presence of 
the Archbishop of Westminster, the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, 
the widow and several members of the family of the deceased 
architect, at 9 o'clock in the morning of Saturday, April 30th, 1910. 
The Duchess, before leaving the foundry, afterwards cast a medal- 
lion to commemorate the event. The inscription on the bell 
runs as follows : " Pray for Gwendolen, Duchess of Norfolk, who 
has given this bell to the glory of God and in honour of St. Edward 
the Confessor in the year 1910. Whilst the sound of this 
bell travels through the clouds, may the bands of angels pray 
for those assembled in Thy Church. St. Edward, pray for 

The bell was to have been baptized early in May, but owing 
to the death of King Edward the ceremony was postponed, and 
has never been performed. " Edward " was, however, raised to 
its place when ready, and hangs there like some musical old pagan, 
calling Christian people to their prayers under false pretences. In 
order to hoist it in position in the belfry it was necessary to enlarge 
the trapways ; it is hung on steel gudgeons, and the striking 
is effected by means of a lever fitted in the upper part of the 

As the spectator allows his gaze to travel the length of the 
frontage to Ambrosden Avenue, he cannot fail to be impressed 
with the majestic effect of this unbroken line of buildings, measuring 
from the campanile to the extreme corner of Archbishop's House 
about 530 ft. Gazing up at the succession of flat saucer-like 
domes, he is enabled again to realize with what skill and success 
the architect, to satisfy modern requirements, has allied the Byzan- 
tine roofing to the long Latin church plan. He notes too the 
piquant effect of the tiers of red and white masonry, gaining by 
contrast with the slated gables of the Norman-looking transepts, 
and their square pyramidal-roofed flanking turrets. Then the 
details of the chapel windows will attract his more concentrated 
attention, notably, in the case of the two westernmost, the circular 


wreath with depending swag, surcharged upon the vertical brick 
and stone facing of the tympana of their enclosing arches. The 
fenestration of the third side chapel eastwards is differently- 
treated ; herein small triple lights are set beneath a terracotta 
trellis, the voussoirs of the containing arch being composed alter- 
nately of stone and brick ; the glazing of these small windows is 
still temporary and awaits completion by some benefactor. 

Above the flat asphalted roofs of the side chapels will be 
observed the six tall windows of the triforium, with their varied 
and effective leadwork, and roundel glazing (Plates III and V), 
and the equally diverse and interesting terracotta tracery of the 
three semi-circular clerestory lights, a turret-crowned secondary 
counterfort uprising between the second and third. 

Neither will the lead rain-water pipes and heads have escaped 
attention ; cast lead was used throughout both in these and in the 
lead window-glazing and in the roofing of turrets, campanile, etc., 
the roofing and ridges being wrought with welted rolls. Com- 
menting on the excellence of the work (carried out by Messrs. 
Matthew Hall & Co.), Mr. Hadfield observed that " the finials have 
the individuality inseparable from Bentley's work. For many 
years he had been an adept at the designing of leadwork of all 
kinds, and the weight of metal used promises a durability worthy 
of the fabric." ' 

Coming to the western half of the north transept, one finds the 
third public entrance, a porch (four steps above the street level) 
whose entrance arch is turned in fluted brick. A similar articulation 
distinguishes the lower windows ; that on the right of the entrance, 
with three lights, serves the vestibule ; the pair on the left, each 
containing two-light windows, light the small transeptal chapel 
of St. Thomas of Canterbury, known as the Vaughan Chantry. 
Across the tympanum of the entrance arch, just above the archi- 
trave of the doorway, runs a quintuple corbelled brick arcad- 
ing, fluted on soffite. Flying angels upholding an enwreathed 
medallion with the letters M. R., sculptured in low relief upon the 

' Paper on Westminster Cathedral read March 16th, 1903, before R.I.B.A. 


architrave, remind us that, as originally designed, this would have 
been the Lady Chapel entrance. The teak door is similar to that 
of the north-west porch. 

Beneath the sills of the four transept windows at the triforium 
level, the red brick is wrought in dog-tooth pattern, while inter- 
spacing its two small clerestory windows are triplets of arched 
niches with fluted vaults. The twin gable ends of the transept 
are effectively treated from eaves to apex with a diaper pattern 
wrought in the red and white material. Eastward rises the 
staircase turret, roofed in the pyramidal fashion already men- 
tioned, with horizontal bands of brick and stone. In the eastern 
wall of the transept occur the two arcaded openings of an attractive 
loggia, each containing two smaller arches borne on a single 
column ; the flat roof of this balcony forms the link between the 
staircase of the turret and that in the upper part of the north- 
west pier of the sanctuary, leading to the passage over the 
clerestory. From the loggia one may look down upon the vaulted 
roof and apsidal termination of the Blessed Sacrament chapel, 
and up to the vast terracotta tracery lighting the sanctuary. 
Higher yet will be observed on the sanctuary abutments the 
carved stone medallions displaying the symbols I.H.S. and 

Reverting to the ground level, one examines the fenestration 
of the aforesaid chapel ; the three circular windows of its flat 
roofed north aisle, the three segmental-headed windows of its 
nave and the two smaller but of similar design pierced in the 
apsidal termination. 

Now emerges into sight the eastern termination of the cathedral, 
though owing to the proximity of surrounding buildings it is 
better viewed as a whole from the south-east corner of the site. 
One pauses at this point, however, to mark the north-east abut- 
ment of the sanctuary, fluted, banded, and turreted, and with 
arcaded balconies where the octagon springs free of the adjoining 
walling ; the two bridges connecting the church with the residential 
pile of buildings (considered in Chapter XII) ; the massive but- 


tresses of the apse and the retaining wall that forms a low circular 
podivim between them. 

" The eastern termination of the cathedral," says Mr. Marshall, 
" suggests the Romanesque or Lombardic style — if you will — of 
Northern Italy : the crypt opening into the church, with the retro- 
choir above closely following S. Ambrogio's, Milan ; the open 
colonnade under the eaves, the timber roof over the vaulting, are 
all familiar features. The huge buttresses, however, give distinc- 
tion, and resist the pressure of a vault having a span of 48 ft." * 

The roundel glazed windows of the crypt, eight in number, 
appear above the podium ; while below the level of the springing 
of the vault the apse is pierced with six segmental-headed windows, 
whose stone voussoirs, interspaced with thin brick, produce the 
familiar effect of rustication. Comparison of the structure with 
Bentley's drawing of the east elevation reveals the fact that his 
original idea was to have twelve windows in the apse, arranged in 
pairs. We venture to think that the second version as adopted 
is the more stately and effective. 

The colonnade shafts of the eaves gallery, three of which sup- 
port four arches in the intervals between the buttresses, spring 
from the brick parapet and terminate in Ionic capitals ; the 
voussoirs of the arcading being of brick and stone like the 
windows below, details which are well seen in Plate IX. 
The gallery roof is constructed of concrete slabs forming a flat 
around the timber roof of the apse. From the apex of the latter, 
whose oak timbers are covered with greenish-tinted slates, rises 
an elegant cross fleurie, raised on a 4 -ft. shaft, the whole finial 
measuring 7 ft. high. The Crown of Thorns, suspended by a cable 
entmning it and passing over the arms, encircles the stem of the 
cross. This finial, the work of Messrs. Elsley & Co., is constructed 
of cast lead made up on a core of wood. 

Behind the steep pitch of the apse roof one observes with 
pleasure another arcading, that of the exterior gallery which, built 
upon the wide arch of the choir vaulting, and passing through 

1 Paper read before the Architectural Asaociation, April 12th, 1907. 


the eastern abutments of the sanctuary dome, provides com- 
munication between the staircase turrets. An object successfully- 
achieved by means of these numerous passages and balconies 
was that every window in the building should be readily accessible 
for cleaning. 

Crowning the eastern view, rises the window-pierced circle of 
the sanctuary dome, flanked by the two white cupolas of the 
turrets (Plate X). The south-east turret contains three bells 
named Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel (the gift of the Sheldrake 
Brothers), which were cast by Mr. S. B. Goslin at his foundry in 
Southwark. Their tones are never heard, because persons living 
in the neighbourhood found them disturbing and made a request 
for their silence to Cardinal Vaughan. 

The apse was quite finished externally by December 1900, so 
that, with the exception of the finial cross, it had the advantage of 
being carried out entirely under its designer's supervision. 

The slated roof of the sacristy and the attractive fenestration 
of its east and south sides, next absorbs the eye before it travels 
along the line of the south elevation. The absence here, which 
immediately strikes one, of certain decorative features, especially 
noted on the lower levels on the north side, is explained by the fact 
that the vacant breadth of site has from the first been intended for 
letting on building lease : so that the multiplication of details, 
sooner or later to be concealed by adjoining buildings, was regarded 
as wasteful extravagance and therefore to be avoided.' 

The only entrance on this side is the small and inconspicuous 
doorway at the base of the transept turret. It will be observed 
also that the apse of the Lady Chapel is destitute of openings, 
its nave being lighted by four segmental-headed window lights, 
that nearest the sanctuary being smaller than its fellows. Four 
circular windows pierce the wall of its flat-roofed aisle, which 
forms the processional way from the sacristy. 

Having gazed his fill on the vista of domes and turrets, the 

* The east end of the site, adjoining Clergy House and Choir School, was in 1913 
being laid out as a garden. 


student, eager and stimulated, will retrace his steps to the west 
end, there to ascend by the turret staircases of the narthex to 
make closer acquaintance with the roofing. Emerging from the 
balcony of either of these western turrets, he will cross as before 
explained to the circular stairway, continuing the ascent in either 
of the western counterforts of the nave, until the exit to the flat 
roofing on which the domes seem to rest is attained. These flats 
are formed, as we have seen, upon the built-up haunches of the 
pendentives. On the radiating ribs of their extrados were built 
light sleeper walls of concrete, over which was thickly laid Val-de- 
Travers asphalte. This flat roofing of concrete and asphalte 
inclines up the base of the domes to a height of about 4 ft. 6 in. 
under their outer covering, where it is keyed into the concrete. 

The independent external covering of each of the three domes 
of the nave presents, as already stated, an elaborate network of 
jointing, being formed of over six hundred slabs of artificial stone, 
3 in. thick and cast to the curve. 

Arrived at the easternmost limit of the flat walk around the 
nave domes, one is confronted with the salient constructive differ- 
ences of the fourth or sanctuary dome. Not only is it smaller in 
diameter, the circle developed by its pendentives being only 
52 ft., in comparison with the 60 ft. of the nave vaults, but the 
extrados of its pendentives are left uncovered, to form pyramidal 
series of concrete steps following the plan of the dome (Plate XI). 
North and south rises the revealed vaulting over the organ galleries. 
From the pendentives sweeps up the drum or circular podium, 
pierced by twelve windows (Plate XII and Fig. 23, p. 93), whose 
reveals represent a series of counterforts all round the dome. 
Gargoyles are placed between these windows to carry off the water 
collected by the guttered concrete slabs, fixed between this wall 
and the shell of the dome. The flat of the drum is covered with 
asphalte, which passes up under the artificial stone covering as 
before described. By either of the eastern turrets the descent to 
the ground floor may now be accomplished, after inspecting on the 
way the areaded passage contrived through the eastern counter- 


forts of this dome, whence a closer view of the apse roofing and 
its finial cross may be obtained. 

We could not, we think, close this chapter more happily than 
by a quotation from Prof. Lethaby's article on the cathedral,' 
published in the architect's lifetime. Speaking of the exterior he 
says : "If beauty were a merely abstract thing, there are thoughts, 
contrivances, delicacies of fancy here which might give fortune to 
a hundred buildings. No expedient of a critical refinement is 
here neglected. The great tower which climbs 220 ft. into the air 
has the entasis of a classic column. The capitals are elegantly 
profiled like the earliest perfect Greek. The mouldings are pur- 
poseful, sharp, and refined. Everywhere is change, adjustment, 
variety. Moreover, there is a certain universality — or at least 
synthesis — in the style, and every country and every age contri- 
butes its quota. Athens, Byzantium, Pisa, Bologna, Milan, Venice, 
the South of France, England's Gothic, the Renaissance of Dona- 
tello, the modern French of M. Due (not Viollet), and the modern 
English of Philip Webb — all these and many more antecedents 
colour this complex result." 

' Architectural Review, January 1902. 



General description and details — Narthex, nave, sanctuary, apse — Baldacchino 
and furniture of sanctuary — Crypt and mortuary chapel. 

" Internally," says the Official Handbook issued for tlie rite of 
its consecration, " the appearance of the cathedral, even in its 
unfinished state, is exceedingly imposing ; with the full view of its 
342 ft. of length ; its vast nave higher and wider than any nave 
in England ; ' the twelve lower arches on each side of the nave 
supporting the tribunes or galleries ; above each two of these 
arches a lofty arch of 73 ft. in height ; above each two of the 
latter, a still loftier arch of 90 ft. ; and rising above these highest 
arches, the three domes of the nave. Besides the nave, there are 
its aisles, with their side chapels and the baptistery ; the transepts 
with the spacious chapel of the Blessed Sacrament on the left (or 
Gospel side) and the chapel of our Lady on the right (or Epistle 
side) of the sanctuary ; and the great sanctuary itself with its 
many marble columns, its dome with twelve windows, its aisles, 
its archiepiscopal throne, its baldacchino and high altar and 
the raised apsidal choir behind them " (Plate XI V). 

Westminster Cathedral is, as we have seen, essentially a 
veneered building, outwardly covered with a comparatively thin 
skin of red brick and Portland masonry, internally destined to 
be clothed with a vesture of marble and mosaic. The various 
schemes of mosaic decoration, whether those merely suggested or 
those actually adopted, are, for the sake of convenience, discussed 
in another chapter; the marble wall linings, the monolithic 

1 See Comparative Table, Appendix B, p. 332. 


columns and all interior fittings fall properly within the compass 
of this. We propose to describe first the narthex, nave, sanctuary, 
retro-choir, and crypt, dealing with baptistery, aisles, and side 
chapels in the succeeding chapter. 

The Narthex 

On entering the church by the great western door, the eye is 
captured by two superb shafts of Norwegian gi-anite, very similar 
in its deep, glowing red to the ancient and precious porphyry of 
Egypt. Thirteen feet high and crowned with exceedingly ele- 
gant caps of unpolished Carrara, they stand like sentinels within 
the narthex, supporting the central arch below the western 
gallery. The adjoining walls and vaults are bare and unadorned, 
the sole hint of completion being the rich marble paving and 
the marble framing of the t\vo three-light windows which, in the 
wall to right and left of the main doorway, serve to illuminate 
the narthex from the lobby outside (Plate XV). 

It must be recorded that Bentley left complete designs for the 
marble work of both sides of the three western doorways, and of 
the inside of the north-west porch door and those admitting to the 
turret staircases, and of the balconies over them, besides laying 
down the general lines of the revetment at this end. 

Beneath the three central arcades the floor is laid with oblong 
slabs of the grey marble known as bleu fleuri, divided by a narrow 
transverse pattern of black diamond-shaped tesserse set on a white 
ground. In the recesses opposite to the lateral entrance lobby a 
square of green flanked by panels of blue-grey tint, is surrounded 
by a border of black and white. To right and left laurel wreaths 
in verde antico with interlacing ribbons of warm yellow give variety 
and enrichment to the design which at the juncture of aisles and 
narthex displays an intricate arrangement of circles in marble 
mosaic, the colour scheme introducing green, red, white and black 
tesserai, arranged concentrically with a circular motive of red or 


The Nave 

The marble columns being the earliest decorative feature to 
be placed in the edifice, while ranking also among its secondary 
constructive requirements, it is fitting, indeed obvious, that they 
should receive here priority of attention and interest. There 
are in all twenty-nine columns in nave, aisles, and transepts — each 
a single block tapering slightly in graceful entasis — to carry the 
vaulting of the aisles and the galleries of the transepts. Looking 
east, the eye first rests in admiration on eight perfect shafts of 
verde antico, 13 ft. high, supporting, four on either side, the 
galleries of the nave. 

The sovu'ce of this marble, so prized by the builders of classic 
times, was lost to the world for long centuries ; its re-discovery 
being due to the learning and enterprise of Mr. Brindley, F.G.S., 
directed by the words of Paul the Silentiary, a Greek, who more 
than fourteen centuries ago had sung with exquisite poetic fervour 
the glories of Santa Sophia. In this ode written to celebrate the 
opening of Justinian's great church on December 24ith, a.d. 563, 
he speaks of the " fresh green stone of Thessaly," so abundantly used 
by the architect, as " the marble that the land of Atrax yields, 
not from some upland glen, but from the local plains ; in parts 
fresh green as the sea or emerald stone ; or again like blue corn- 
flowers in grass, with here and there a drift of fallen snow, a sweet 
mingled contrast on the dark shining surface." 

To this " land of Atrax " therefore Mr. Brindley went, and there, 
at Casambala, about seven miles to the north-east of Larissa, hard 
by the road leading to the vale of Tempe, he found the only quarry 
in the world of this marmor molossium, this fair green stone. In- 
credible labour and perseverance in excavating at length revealed 
the ancient road in the rock, furrowed by the wheels of waggons 
and dating from 170 B.C. A depth of 60 ft. of accumulated rubble 
had to be removed before it was possible to work the quarry, this 
consummation being attained just in time for the needs of the 
church that was to develope and carry on the Justinian tradition. 


The verde antico monoliths were hand-quarried, and from 
Casambala were carried across the fields of the Thessalian plain 
to rail-head at Larissa. The arrival in England of the first columns 
was somewhat seriously delayed by the fortunes of war. The 
Greco-Turkish struggle was then at its height ; the Turks, over- 
running Thessaly in the summer of 1897, seized the columns and 
prevented their embarkation. For some months theiy held them 
as spoils, with the result that the architect suffered from an 
irritating delay of progress. It was not until the Turkish troops 
were finally withdrawn across the border that the marbles ceased 
to be prisoners of war. Shaped and polished in the marble mer- 
chants' workshops in London, they were at length set in place in 
the cathedral late in 1899. 

Besides the eight verde antico columns in the nave, there are 
three in the transepts : one coupled with a shaft of Italian breccia 
in the south transept, a second paired with one of Greek cipollino 
in the north transept, whilst a third stands alone there to support 
the vaulting. A considerable quantity of verde antico is employed 
also for " sheeting " and for inlaying, as will be seen. 

The Silentiary sings the praises also of the marmor carystium, 
" the fresh green from Carystus," This, known as cipollino, was 
quarried by the ancients at Carystus, at the foot of Mount Ocha in 
the Island of Eubcea. The credit of discovering and reopening 
the ancient quarry near Stource again belongs to INIr. Brindley. 
Westminster Cathedral is enriched with six columns of this beauti- 
ful material, whose delicate clear green surface is figured with 
broad wavy lines of deeper green or purplish grey or with the 
characteristic " onion " marking, whence its name is derived. 
It is employed also with magnificent effect on many flat surfaces, 
most notably, perhaps, on the crypt arcading behind the high 
altar and in the ambulatory of the crypt itself, of which more later. 

With regard to the position of the six cipollino columns, one 
paired with a shaft of Italian breccia supports the eastern half of 
the south transept gallery ; a second and third coupled respectively 
with a column of breccia and one of verde antico carry the gallery 


in the north transept. The remaining three from the Euboean 
quarries will be found in the two chapels, dedicated to St. Paul 
and St. Patrick, off the south aisle, and in that to St. Joseph on 
the north side. 

Bentley was exceedingly elated with the beauty of all these 
columns ; " it is doubtful," wrote he in the Tablet in May 1899, 
" whether finer examples of columns, both in colour and marking, 
ever left the two famous classic quarries in ancient days. The 
verde antico are certainly not surpassed by those that separate the 
nave from the aisle in Justinian's wondrous church of Santa 
Sophia, nor are the cipollino columns inferior to those in S. Vitale 
and S. Apollonius at Ravenna." 

Of Swiss cipollino from Sayonne are the two columns which 
carry the aisle arcading where it opens into the chapels dedicated 
to St. George (north) and St. Andrew (south). A fine pair of 
coupled shafts of this same marble fulfils a similar duty in the 
chapel of St. Gregory and St. Augustine, adjoining the baptistery. 

To the three columns of Italian breccia in the transepts we have 
already referred in passing. They came from the quarries near 
Verona, between Pietro Santo and Serra Vezza, and are finely 
varied in colour and figured with broad markings of yellow, grey, 
purple, and white. One of the shafts originally selected, an excep- 
tionally perfect specimen, cracked in the working ; a similar fate 
befell two magnificent cipollino monoliths ; to the architect's great 
disappointment all three had perforce to be rejected and replaced. 

We have now examined twenty- six columns ; of the three yet 
unmentioned, two are to be found in the centre of the south 
transept, forming with the Lady Chapel, to a spectator looking 
eastwards, part of a splendid vista. They are of rose-red marble 
from Languedoc, very perfectly matched. The last column, 
to complete this tale of twenty-nine, is a fittingly sombre shaft of 
labradorite in the chapel of the Holy Souls. Other columns there 
are, of course, of no less beauty and importance, but of these we 
will speak as we discover them in our tour of the buildings.' 

' For the names of donors of columns, see Appendix, p. 329. 


Each column stands on a moulded base of labradorite, a Nor- 
wegian granite whose dark surface is broken by moonlight gleams 
of mica flakes. The capitals are of white statuary marble, left 
unpolished in order to avoid giving them a porcelain-like appear- 
ance, no two being duplicated in design. " All the caps and bases," 
wrote Bentley in July 1895, " will take a new departure, or, 
rather, a carrying out of a very old one, and so with all the other 
details. I am not attempting a new style — that is impossible — 
but intend, as far as I am able, to develope the first phase of 
Christian architecture." The group of caps photographed in 
Plate XXXII conveys some idea of the architect's copious 
yet restrained versatility, and of the harmonious ordering of his 
decorative adjuncts ; though to the professional mind the repro- 
duction of one of the half-size details will doubtless be more 
welcome (Plate XXV). 

A veritable school of design have these capitals been aptly 
styled — and yet, varied as they are, they may roughly be grouped 
in five classes. In some, of Byzanto-Corinthian parentage, the bell 
is entirely foliated, the pointed acanthus leaves with long flowing 
lines, curving upward from the lowest moulding, while the 
foliation is repeated again vertically on the richly moulded abacus. 
In others of this type the abacus is moulded with greater sim- 
plicity and adorned with rosettes carved in relief. A second type 
of capital combines foliation with the characteristic strapwork of 
elaborate interlacement, in very low relief on the beU of the 
capital, while the dosseret is likewise scvdptured with close-set 
leafage. Those crowning the "grand antique" columns in the 
Vaughan Chantry belong to this class, being an example of ex- 
quisite design Avedded to perfect craftsmanship. Another type, 
employed for certain of the nave columns, is the lobed melon 
form, covered with lace-like tracery. 

Yet a third variety, of Byzanto-Ionic type, is to be found in 
the transepts, where volutes of varying form are surmounted 
by acanthus leaves in basso-relievo curved round a conventional 
pineapple or a medallion displaying the divine monogram. A 

Plate XVII. — North Tkansept, View froji. South Gallerv or Nave. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 













fourth type, with volutes of small size and projection, is surmounted 
by a highly developed cushion stone or dosseret, adorned with 
diagonal strapwork, over which rectangular plaques with foliation 
in extremely low relief are (apparently) laid. In the fifth class 
come the caps of the crypt columns, which are about half the 
height of those we have already described ; their volviting is of 
diversified pattern, while their proportions well convey the feeling 
that these columns support a low and massive underground 

The capitals of the interior were carved after being placed in 
position by sculptors in the employment of Messrs. Farmer & 
Brindley ; each occupied the entire time of two men for the space 
of three months. 

With the exception of the slender moulded frames of white 
marble on its piers, hereafter to contain the Stations of the Cross, 
the nave ' remains as the architect last beheld it, massive, unbroken, 
soaring brickwork, almost bare of mouldings, untrammelled and 
free for the garment of beauty with which this and generations yet 
unborn will be privileged to drape it. 

It was Bentley's intention to employ over sixty species of 
marble from all quarters of the world, an incredibly richer variety 
than Byzantium with all her power and wealth could command. 
We enumerate in this and the succeeding chapters some forty 
varieties used in the relatively small portion of the decoration 
yet accomplished. The marble sheeting of the nave, for which 
fortunately he had prepared inch and half-inch scale drawings, will 
extend from the floor level to the sills of the lower gallery windows, 
a height of 38 ft. ; at this point the marble casing ceases, with the 
exception of some pilasters between and lateral to these windows. 
Above this line of marble will come the mosaics, but these, covering 

* Since the above was written, the marble work of the westenunost pier of the nave 
on the south side has been partially carried out, but not in accordance with Bentley's 
designs. Moreover, the original frames for the Stations of the Cioss have been torn 
down and replaced by mouldings more in keeping with the strangelj- crude sculptured 
" Stations " which have taken the place of the opus seotile pictures intended for this 


the remaining portion of the walls, the vaults and the domes, 
cannot naturally be touched until the marble work is completed. 

As at present proposed, the decoration of this " great, gaunt, 
wide nave " is to be executed, bay by bay, as funds permit ; firstly, 
the marble work up to the gallery level, including the marble 
balustrading in place of the present temporary wooden erection. 
Then, as finances render it possible, the marble could be carried 
to its upward limit. The rough approximate estimate of cost for 
each bay up to the gallery level, inclusive of the balustrade, is 
£1,000, or £500 for half a bay. The entire length of the nave 
from the sanctuary piers to the western gallery, including its three 
arches and balustrade, will, it is estimated, cost £8,000. The 
authorities hope that benefactors will come forward to undertake 
sections of the decoration, just as, during the past twenty-three 
years, they have nobly responded to the appeals for columns, 
capitals, chapels, and the rest. 

Says Mr. Marshall : ' " Mr. Bentley's suggestions for the revet- 
ment of the interior show, as might be expected, an appreciation of 
the principles underlying the application of marble and mosaic 
as exemplified at Venice and at Ravenna. The well-defined line 
of demarcation between the two materials, at a uniform level ; 
the high and narrow slabs riveted to the walls and piers, and 
' opened out ' so that they could not possibly be mistaken for 
solid masonry ; the strips or facets that roughly follow the curves ; 
the extreme thinness of the veneer, exposed at all salient angles ; 
and above all, the vast expanses of sheeting, due to the unbroken 
wall surfaces, and the massiveness of the piers, undisturbed by 
mouldings and made more impressive by the insertion, at rare 
intervals, of choicer slabs, and by the brilliancy of carving — these 
are some of the qualities we associate with the ideal type of marble 

" This being so, it is evident that the essential features of Mr. 
Bentley's plan scarcely afford scope for a full development of this 
type. The sub-division or multiplication of the piers and the 

* Paper read before tlie Architectural Association, April 12th, 1907. 


lack of unbroken wall surface on the ground floor demanded a 
treatment on independent lines that may best be described as a 
compromise between the Byzantine and the Renaissance. An- 
other marked divergence from the Byzantine type — in an opposite 
direction — is seen in the sparing use of columns for the gallery 
arcades, resulting in a wide inter-columniation, again in favour of 
the Renaissance. 

" But if the piers and walls do not present an ideal field for the 
application of marble, this cannot be said of the floor space, 
where unbounded facilities are afforded for that most essential 
feature — from the architectural point of view — a marble pavement 
throughout the building. The value of the marble paving in 
relation to the wall lining can be seen in the chapel of the Blessed 
Sacrament and in the two western chapels of the nave." 

As regards the furnishing of the nave, we note near the 
narthex, at its northern pier, a seated statue of St. Peter cast in 
bronze. A facsimile of the famous ancient figure in St. Peter's at 
Rome, it was given to the cathedral by the friends of the Rev. 
Luke Rivington, D.D., who died in 1899, as a memorial to this 
eloquent preacher, and was originally and appropriately intended 
to be placed in the crypt dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles ; 
but when taken there was discovered to be too large to look well, 
and so found its present place in the nave. Mr. Dudley Baxter 
was the prime mover in obtaining the statue and ordering the 
pedestal and had some correspondence with Bentley on the sub- 
ject, who, when he heard that it was to be made in Rome, had 
expressed his fears and doubts as to the artistic result. The 
pedestal mouldings are of alabaster, the centre panels of green 
Polcevera marble, with a suitable inscription incised thereon ; 
the base is of black and white marble. The statue itself is of a 
dark-coloured bronze like the original. 

Against the secondary pier of the south transept is built the 
pulpit, with whose design it is at once obvious the architect had 
nothing whatever to do. Cardinal Vaughan when in Rome gave 
the commission for its design and production to Cavaliere Aristide 


Leonori, a Roman artist employed by the Vatican, who had never 
seen Westminster Cathedral. It is therefore hardly matter for 
surprise that the result should be so absolutely incongruous ; 
indeed it is but fair to state that Cavaliere Leonori himself ad- 
mitted the unsuitability of his design when he saw the pulpit in 
situ. Mercifully, Bentley never had that misfortune. 

The pulpit is triple, as the metropolitan church requires, in order 
to accommodate, when the Archbishop is preaching, an assistant 
on either hand. The preacher is raised 4 ft. above his audience, 
access to the pulpit being obtained by a staircase of white marble. 
This material composes the moulding and framework of the 
structxire, enriched with cosmati work in various colom-ed precious 
marbles and glass mosaic. In the upper central panel of the front 
is a carved representation of the Lamb of God, enclosed within 
four interlacing circles of marble and mosaic. To right and left, 
within niches, are figures of the four evangelists bearing their 
emblems. In the lower portion of the pulpit, just beneath these 
figures, are four twisted columns, inlaid with coloured and gold 
mosaic. The pulpit is still without a sounding board, but the 
acoustic properties of the cathedral are so excellent that its absence 
is not so great a disadvantage as might be imagined. It was the 
gift of Mr. Ernest Kennedy, whose name also appears in the list 
of founders. A temporary wood pulpit, with sounding board, is 
now in more general use. 

Bentley had prepared designs for a marble floor, for the nave 
and aisles, of surpassing beauty and originality, of which no illustra- 
tion could give more than a faint idea of the sumptuous effect it 
was intended to produce. In the nave, swimming in a sea of 
wave-like eipollino, were to be seen, in tints of rose and pearl, fish 
typifying all the varieties promised to St. Peter's net — -an allusion, 
too, to the symbolic idea of the Church as a ship, navis, bearing 
her burden safely over the troubled sea of this life. 

The design for the nave floor is divided into sections measuring 
10 ft. long by 9 ft. wide, containing five waved bands with inlaid 
fish, while the alternate compartments are patterned with slabs of 


a delicate light grey marble (bleu flcuri?) enclosed within a 
framing of small black and white squares, interspersed at regular 
intervals by pink or blue diamond-shaped tesserae set in a ground 
of golden yellow, a 9-in. bordering of some dark-hued marble en- 
closing the whole. Each 10 x 9 panel is divided laterally from its 
neighbour by a strip of light-toned marble, 2 ft. 9 in. wide, running 
the whole length of each bay. There are five oblong compart- 
ments tlms divided transversely across each bay, and six, not so 
divided, longitudinally, making thirty in all between one pair of 
great piers and the next. Dividing each bay from the next, in the 
breadth of the piers is a design of 4-ft. circles of rose-red marble, 
alternating with lozenges of green enclosed within tesserae-filled 
squares of equal diameter. 

The floor between the columns and piers of the nave arcading 
lias been laid, and is very simply treated with oblong slabs of 
second statuary marble, measuring 8 ft. x 3 ft. 6 in., framed in 
Belgian grand antique, with surroundings of bleu fleuri, the fine 
grey marble which, as we have seen, is largely and effectively em- 
ployed in the paving of the narthex. The floor of the aisles is 
divided, in the design, into rectangular spaces, with external 
dimensions of 18 ft, x 8 ft., each roughly equivalent to the corre- 
sponding half-bay of the nave, and divided from the next by an 
oblong of bleu fleuri enclosed in a pattern of black and white 
tesserae. Four lozenges, two of green and two of pink marble, 
separated by light-coloured diagonal lines, occupy the large rect- 
angular spaces, a miniature repetition in small tesseras of these 
pink and green lozenges filling the intervening spaces, 

" What a grand floor ! " wrote the Cardinal enthusiastically 
to the architect (whom he had been continually pressing for 
the design), when it reached him late in October, 1901. The 
design was shortly after submitted for estimates to a Belgian firm, 
probably with a view to that financial economy which the Cardinal 
had always in mind. The firm in question declined to give a 
price, on the ground of the difficulty likely to be experienced in 
obtaining certain of the marbles required by the specification. An 


English company eventually estimated the cost at £l per square 
foot, or roughly £18,000 for the area to be covered. 

The prospect of such heavy expenditure on paving alone, when 
so much else remained to be accomplished, coupled with other con- 
siderations frequently impressed upon him, decided the Cardinal 
to give up the marble floor. He had not sufficient funds for the 
purpose, but " even if they were at hand," argued he, in justifica- 
tion of his decision,' " the claims of hygiene and of comfort assert 
themselves with a positive defiance. A marble floor in England 
to stand or kneel upon during long services is synonymous with 
cold, rheumatism, influenza, and every other bodily ailment. 
How many in delicate health would venture to spend an hour or 
two upon such a pavement ? And delicate health is the rule rather 
than the exception. Again, in our damp climate, the moisture 
of the atmosphere would often settle on the cold surface of the 
floor in big beads of water. The experience of the cold that 
seems to arise from a marble pavement, even when covered with 
matting, is against the employment of marble. We heard only 
the other day of how in a certain fashionable Anglican church 
floored with marble, but covered with carpet or matting, ladies 
continually leave the church during the service on the plea of the 
cold striking up from the pavement. In Vienna the marble floor 
of the cathedral is overlaid with boards during winter ; in Spain 
the floors are covered with mats ; and even in St. Peter's in Rome a 
plank is put down on which the deacons stand while they sing the 
Passion in Holy Week. Again, it is said that the noise of moving 
chairs on a marble floor is extremely disagreeable and distracting, 
as many will remember from their experience, for instance, of the 
Gesii in Rome, and of other churches where movable chairs are 
in use." 

And so the aesthetic ideal was banished by the utilitarian and 
economic considerations which decided the question in favour 
of wood block flooring, a small concession to the claims of con- 
gruity being made in the shape of the marble paving of the narthex 

1 Westminster Cathedral Record, No. 11, June 1902. 


and the framing between the piers and columns, executed some years 
later from Bentley's designs. It was a bitter termination to the 
hours of thought and work bestowed on his beautiful conception — - 
yet another addition to the burden of thwarting and harassment 
which undoubtedly hastened his end.' Reasonable though the 
Cardinal's arguments appeared, and right as his motives certainly 
were, it is surely open to doubt whether, with the cathedral's 
extremely efficient heating system, the dreaded inconvenience of 
cold and damp would have actually existed ; while the risk of 
disturbance by noise could have been reduced to a minimum by 
the attachment of some simple contrivance such as rubber or metal 
domes to the chair legs. The argument of expense was one less 
easy to answer ; but we may be permitted to express the hope that 
by the generosity of some future generation the wood block flooring 
will one day be replaced by the architect's dream of marble. 

We have already, in a footnote, referred to the white marble 
frames of the Stations of the Cross, which were fixed on the 
western sides of the main piers of the nave. Inscriptions on the 
paving below record the names of the fourteen donors ° who, at a 
cost of about £75 each, presented the sacred pictures. One would 
be interested to know whether they approved of the substitution 
of the sculptured panels around which controversy has raged so 
acutely, in place of the opus sectile for which they had paid. The 
sculptor of these Stations is Mr. Eric Gill. It has been explained 
by a writer in the Westminster Cathedral Chronicle (March 1918) 
that these panels are not carved in imitation of a bygone style, 
Byzantine or any other, and that the artist has confined himself to 
a diagrammatic treatment of the subjects, which may be best 
described as impassive reminders of the scenes of Our Lord's 

The cathedral is lighted throughout with electric light, operated 
from a switchboard on the eastern side of the great pier of the south 

^ We were assured by the late Mr. C. N. Hemy, R.A., that Mr. John Sargent, R.A., 
tried his utmost to persuade the Cardinal to have Bentley's floor carried out at once. 
2 For a list of these benefactors, see Appendix, p. 331. 



transept. The system of distributing the light about the building 
is the most brilliant that can be adopted ; the nave being provided 
with twelve pendants, six on each side, suspended from cantilevers 
fixed into the walls a few feet below the springing of the domes, 
on the level of the floor of the passages that run just above the 
vaulting of the galleries. The mains are laid in these passages, 
connections being made at each cantilever for the wiring that 
descends to the pendants. The mains descend to the basement 
by the newel of a turret staircase at the east end of the building. 
The sanctuary has three pendants on either side, suspended from 
cantilevers fixed into the walls, and resting on the marble organ 
screens. The mains run along the top of these screens and descend 
also by the turret staircases. 

The nave pendants, fixed early in 1909, are reminiscent of 
the metal circles to bear lamps in Santa Sophia so eloquently 
described by the Silentiary. They were entirely designed by the 
firm of Messrs. Bentley, Son & Marshall, the architect having left 
no record of his intentions in this respect. They consist of a system 
of plain iron rings, varying in diameter and connected by a light 
network of chains. The topmost ring, 6 ft. in diameter, has fifteen 
lamps, each dependent electric bulb appearing like a flower bud with 
outspread calyx of metal. The next ring has ten lamps, and the 
lowest only three. Rings and chains are of wrought iron, painted 
a neutral green. The complete lighting of the nave cost £2,005 ; 
but though finished in 1909 it was, by an arrangement entered 
into with the firm who executed it, not to be used until the 
money to pay for it was forthcoming. An appeal for funds had 
been made in February 1907, but the nave remained in darkness 
till in 1912 certain generous benefactors came forward to remove 
the ban. 

The sanctuary coronas, though similar in design to those in the 
nave, are a good deal smaller and gilt instead of painted. 

A feature designed to attract attention immediately one enters 
the cathedral is the great crucifix, suspended by three stout chains 
from the soffit of the sanctuary arch. Thirty feet high and 


carved in wood, it was made in Bruges from Bentley's designs, 
though, from some error in measurement afterwards impossible to 
rectify, its proportions are not exactly as he intended. The wood is 
painted and gilt, canvas being stretched on both sides over the 
recessed centre of shaft and arms. The designs for its decoration 
were prepared by the late W. Christian Symons and submitted to 
the architect shortly before his death, the cross being made after 
this had taken place. On the obverse is painted a figure of Christ, 
about 18 ft. high, on a vermilion ground, bounded along the outer 
edge by a line of vivid green. This touch of contrasting colour 
was added at the suggestion of John Sargent, R.A., to produce a 
jewel-like effect in the setting. The emblems of the four evan- 
gelists occupy the extremities of shaft and arms. On the reverse 
side of the cross, facing the high altar, is depicted the Sorrowful 
Mother, clad in sombre draperies of purple and white ; while texts 
from the hymn Stabat Mater, selected by Cardinal Vaughan, 
appear in the four extremities. 

The cross, painted by Mr. Symons in the cathedral on the 
floor level, was raised when completed by means of ropes and 
pulleys ; a bar being temporarily fixed across the arch to support 
a ladder. The weight of the cross is about 2 tons, and its fixing 
occupied some eighteen hours (Plate XIX). 

The Sanctuary 

The sanctuary, 62 ft. deep by 50 ft. wide, is enclosed north and 
south by a double row of superposed columns, the raised choir 
beyond being yet narrower: an arrangement which, it has 
been pointed out, has its special advantage in increasing the 
perspective effect of length and distance. All the lines of per- 
spective converge and focus upon the baldaechino and the high 
altar beneath it. The great piers supporting the sanctuary dome 
are plainly cased in slabs of dark reddish-brown Levantine, so 
quiet in effect that they in no wise distract the eye from the 
central feature. 


On moulded circular bases of grey Derbyshire fossil marble 
rest the columns of the bold and simple arcading which carries 
the galleries or tribunes above. Three on either side, and 
dividing the sanctuary from the aisles of the Blessed Sacrament 
and Lady Chapels, these columns are of French jasper and 
a light pink Norwegian marble,' each selected with infinite care 
for its beauty and delicacy of colour and figure. The caps, of 
Carrara, have not yet been submitted to the tools of the carver. 
It is to be hoped that their completion may soon remove the 
somewhat rude effect produced among so much that is the per- 
fection of finish. The soffits and simple archi volts of these four 
lateral arches are of warm grey Hopton Wood stone, polished, 
the spandrels being faced with a horizontal banding in alternate 
strips of campan vert and pavonazzo (the former being about half 
the width of the latter), to a point just above their crowns 
(Plate XVIII). 

Above rises the parapet of the tribunes, 3 ft. in height from 
their flooring to its coping 21 in. broad, on which stand the 
seven columns of the upper arcading. The marble work of this 
parapet is particularly charming ; vertical oblong slabs of red 
Veronese, alternately straight and concave on their lower edge, are 
set along it in positions corresponding to those of the columns 
above. In the alternate spaces lozenges of verde antico in a 
waved and carved framing of Carrara give the needed note of 
contrast to their surroundings of pale breccia, which, in conjunction 
with a further framing of white, occupy the whole of the rectangles 
between the red Verona slabs. The white marble parapet is 
50 ft. long, and bears, as we have seen, seven pavonazzo columns. 
Seven feet six inches high, their yellowish-white surface is broken 
with beautiful markings of greyish-green and purplish-pink and 
an occasional mingling of warm yellow, the general effect, at a 
distance, remaining almost white. 

Their capitals, alike in shape, but varying each in the details 
of their carving in low relief, have volutes of sliglit projection 

' liiiowa as " Midnight Sun." 


above which a circular boss of marble, either red, green, pink, 
yellow, or bluish-green, is set jewel-like in each of their four sides. 
The arches they carry are turned in stone, faced on soffite with 
Carrara marble, which composes also the moulded cornice and — 
carved with acanthus in very low relief, around a coloured marble 
plaque or boss — the spandrels of these arches. The entablature 
shows above each column a panel of verde antico set in a narrow 
border of gold glass mosaic ; a pilaster against the pier at each 
end of the tribune being of the same rich green stone. Altogether 
this upper arcading is a delightful piece of fancy. 

Though the inner side of these arcadings is left in a state as 
rough and unfinished as the brick walls behind, the tribunes have 
been floored with wood blocks, stained and polished. The width of 
each tribune is 8 ft. 9 in. A doorway, with door of teak, leads at 
their east end to the turret staircase, which at the same level is 
lighted by a triply-arched vaulted opening borne on two columns, 
whence it is possible to gaze directly down on the retro-choir and to 
inspect the details of the rear of the baldacchino. These columns 
of brecc ia, 6 ft. high and proportionately slender, rise without bases 
from the concrete floor and terminate in simple caps, elegantly 
carved in very slight relief. It is perhaps the unexpectedness of 
these openings in the westernmost part of the wall of the apse that 
lends so greatly to their charm. Fortunately Bentley left complete 
coloured designs for the marble work of these doorways and bal- 
conies. Whether they will ever be executed according to his 
drawings is quite another matter and one on which one hazards 
very slight expectation. 

Similar doors at the western ends of the sanctuary tribunes 
give access to the galleries spanning the transepts. Originally the 
architect intended the former to accommodate the lay choir as well 
as parts of the organ, the casing of which will rise from the cornice 
of the arcading. Diverted as it is from its monastic intention, the 
retro-choir is now occupied by the choristers and by a small tem- 
porary organ. 

Descending to the ground level and again approaching the 


sanctuary from the nave, we first note the low chancel screen 
of porphyry-coloured rosso antico inset with panels of very rare 
and choice yellow Italian breccia. These panels, sawn from one 
unique block of this precious marble, are framed in narrow mould- 
ings of second statuary marble. The low wall or parapet, 5 ft. 
high from the nave floor, is curved navewards on either side 
at a distance of 8 ft. from the great piers to form a small ambo, 
for use when desired for brief announcements and instructions. 
These ambones measure 4 ft. 6 in. across and are 2 ft. deep at 
their radial axis, being roughly semi-circular on the inner side, 
while presenting a pentagonal face to the nave. The wall con- 
tinues for 5 ft. 8 in., till at the bottom step of the central flight 
it turns at an angle upwards along its ascent. The breadth of the 
parapet coping is 13 in. The inlaid slabs of breccia are set in a 
continuous framing on three of the five sides of each ambo ; the 
centre one measuring 17 x 18 in., those at the sides being 17 in. 
square. The three breccia panels which adorn the remainder of 
the wall on either side, two facing the nave and one on the wall 
bounding the steps, are 3 ft. 2 in. long by 17 in. broad. These 
six steps are composed of the same red-brown marble, the lowest 
measuring 14 ft. and the topmost 9 ft. across, so that the sanctuary 
wall, as we have seen, following their ascent, turns upwards and 

Ascending to the lower sanctuary level or presbyterium, we 
find that its floor is laid with a fine warm -toned parquetry, the 
marble floor of the sanctuary proper reaching only to the three 
white marble steps which divide the one from the other at a 
distance of about 25 ft. from the parapet. As originally 
arranged by the architect, these steps were at a distance of 
24 ft. east of the parapet, leaving ample space for movement 
about the throne and altar in the remaining length of 17 ft. 9 in. 
between this point and the lowest altar steps ; subsequently it 
was at one time (November 1901) almost decided to have no 
break in the sanctuary, but either to level up the lower part or 
to throw the steps forward into those before the altar. This 


marble floor composed of Irish red, Siena, red Languedoc, campan 
vert, verde antico and giallo antico, and black and white marbles, 
combined in refined and elegant designs " just saves the balda- 
cchino from the insult . . . and indignity of rising from a plat- 
form of wood-block flooring, though it can never compensate for 
defects due to the lack of Mr. Bentley's personal supervision." ' 

Bold lozenges of verde antico and red Languedoc framed in 
a small inlay of black and white form the main motive of the 
sanctuary floor, six of the green "diamonds" being set, in rows 
of three and three, below the steps before the high altar, and 
flanked on either hand by six of the red diamonds similarly 
arranged. Between are placed small rectangular slabs of giallo 
antico, which marble also forms a pattern outside the angles of 
the diamonds, with similar framing and dividing lines. The 
floor immediately to right and left of the high altar, beneath the 
canopy-like projections of the baldacchino, has circles of rosso 
antico, combined with the rich deep green of verde antico and the 
more delicate hues of campan vert. The predella is floored with 
red Languedoc surrounded by the pale yellow of Siena, and inset 
with campan vert and verde antico. The five steps are of white 
second statuary marble. 

The Apse 

Immediately behind the high altar a flight of eight steps to 
right and to left of it ascends to a central platform, whence rise 
nine more steps (all of the same white marble) to the retro-choir. 
The dividing wall or parapet of the retro-choir extends in a 
straight line from a point midway in the thickness of the eastward 
piers of the sanctuary to this platform behind the high altar. The 
height of this wall from the sanctuary level is 11 ft. 3 in., the retro- 
choir being raised 8h ft. above that level. Doors to right and left 
in the apse, just beyond the parapet, lead to the stairways earlier 
mentioned. In the centre of the apse is a doorway, now closed, 

* Mr. J. A. Marshall, paper read before Architectural Association, April 1907. 


intended as a means of access to the projected monastic buildings. 
This apsidal retro-choir is 48 ft. deep, and affords ample accom- 
modation for the forty men and boys of the trained choir. 

The organ, worthy of the cathedral, that it is proposed to erect 
when funds permit, would have its console here to be in proximity 
to the choir and conductor. The instrument would be built 
in seven different parts, with four manuals, arranged as follows : 
the lowest manual to play the choir organ in the apse on the north 
side ; the second manual to play the great organ, which would 
comprise three parts : No. 1 being the " positive " or accompany- 
ing organ in the apse, on the south side ; No. 2, the second part 
of the great organ, in the south-east tribune ; No. 3, the organ 
in the western gallery. The third manual would operate the 
swell organ in the apse on its south side ; while the fourth would 
control the solo organ or continuation of the swell organ in the 
north-east tribune. The pedal board would play the choir pedal 
organ in the south side of the apse, and also the grand pedal organ 
situated partly in the south-west and partly in the north-west 
tribune. As regards the action of this nobly planned instrument, 
those portions in the apse would be under tubular-pneumatic 
working ; but electric control would be necessary for the rest on 
account of the great distance of the tribunes from the keyboards. 
It is proposed to work the blowing by six high-pressure hydraulic 

The organ thus designed would cost complete, but exclusive of 
the case and the blowing apparatus, about £8,000 ; that is, £6,500 
for the instrument and £1,500 for motive power, structural neces- 
sities, etc. A further £2,000 would meet the cost of a suitable 
case and the six hydraulic engines. To raise this large sum an 
Organ Committee was formed, and an account called the " West- 
minster Cathedral Organ Account " opened in 1909. The archi- 
tect had always intended and hoped that his friend of many years, 
the late Mr. Thomas C. Lewis, who had bestowed infinite care and 
thought on its design, should buUd this organ. 

To return to the parapet and wall between sanctuary and retro- 

Plate XIX. — The Rood. 



choir. In an earlier chapter attention has been drawn to the four 
arched openings, two on either side of the steps, which serve to 
give Hght to the crypt and at the same time add variety and interest 
to the background of the altar. These openings are filled with grilles 
of bronze, gilt, and glazed to prevent draughts in the sanctuary. 
The surrounding wall space is covered with choice, vertically placed 
slabs of Greek cipollino, each bounded by a narrow strip of the 
fine rouge antique of the Pyrenees. In the centre of every panel 
of the green marble is set a lozenge of the red, outlined with a 
border of gold mosaic cubes. The coping of the wall is of white 
statuary marble, which is utilized also for the mouldings defining 
the four arches. The retro-choir is floored with parquetry, but its 
walls are, to this moment, quite destitute of decoration. 

It is pleasing to be able to record that Bentley left inch-scale 
drawings of the marble work for the sanctuary, showing the 
marbles tinted, though unfortunately not specified by name, and 
from these designs the work has been carried out. 

The High Altar and Baldacchino 

Having examined the setting, it is now fitting to focus our 
attention upon the jewel it enshrines. It was Bentley's deter- 
mination that the high altar and baldacchino should be the crown 
of his work, the ark within the Holy of Holies. To this end he 
lavished infinite pains and thought upon their designs ; and the 
Cardinal's decision to have a plain unadorned block of granite for 
the altar came as a crushing disappointment. Forced to give way 
on this point, he was adamant as to the form of the canopy, though 
ready as ever to listen to those qualified to make suggestions. 

He wrote in November 1901 : " At present I see no other way 
of doing the baldacchino than what I have shown, but I shall be 
glad of any suggestion. I know I spent a great deal of thought 
upon it, and I think it is the best thing about the cathedral." 
The design was a constructional development of the type of that of 
Sant' Ambrogio at Milan, which is borne on four pillars with carved 


capitals, but without bases ; from these columns spring four semi- 
circular arches and a vaulted roof. Bentley's absolute resolve to 
have eight columns triumphed ultimately over the opposition of 
those who maintained that they were unnecessary, that four would 
be lighter, better, cheaper, and more in conformity with general 
usage. Patiently, though inexorably, he urged that the greater 
provision of space in his sanctuary allowed of a richer and more 
important structure, " that the baldacchino (and altar beneath) 
being the focus of the cathedral, ought to be presented as he had 
thought it out," as, in fact, an integral part of the whole. 

Victorious at length as regards the design, on the question of 
material and execution he again found himself in opposition to 
the Cardinal. The eight monoliths, each 14| ft. high, were, 
according to the architect's provision, to be of an opaque yellow 
Veronese marble, of a deep honey colour in tone, durable and 
dependable in body. The Cardinal had set his heart on the 
partial translucency of onyx columns ; " but onyx, it was reported 
by the marble merchants of London, Belgium, and Paris, was not 
to be obtained in greater lengths than 5 or 6 ft. . . . All the 
columns in the cathedral are monoliths, and the baldacchino ought 
to be reared on nothing inferior. . . ." Thus and as follows 
wrote the Cardinal, in the last number of the Cathedral Record, 
published June 1902, to justify his acting in opposition to Bentley's 
anxious desire that the baldacchino should be carried out entirely 
by an English firm and under his own constant supervision. 
The article continued : " The Cardinal, however, had a friend in 
Marseilles, M. Cantini, who had supplied the marbles to the new 
Byzantine cathedral in that city, and is the owner of quarries of 
onyx in Africa. But onyx monoliths of the length required for 
Westminster had never been produced ; and although the owner 
of these quarries thought he could supply them, he said that 
it would require many months to do so. The winter [1901-2] 
passed in fruitless endeavours, but at length his efforts were 
crowned with success. The desired lengths are secured in onyx 
dore and onyx nuage. . . ." 


Subsequently to the architect's death the Cardinal had desired 
M. Cantini to submit an estimate for the whole baldacchino, 
which was to be prepared in Marseilles and delivered ready for 
erection ; but the idea came to naught, and eventually the con- 
tract went to Messrs. Farmer & Brindley, who began the work 
in 1905. 

But long before this, the semi-translucent onyx columns from 
Africa had arrived in the cathedral, and had perforce been rejected, 
three on unpacking being discovered to be broken, and another in 
a badly cracked condition. This further delay was most disap- 
pointing to those in authority, who had already collected subscrip- 
tions of £250 each for six of the columns, though by those who 
longed for the perfect realization of Bentley's design the oc- 
currence was regarded as nothing short of providential — the order 
being almost immediately given for eight of the yellow Veronese 
shafts on which his desire had been fixed. The second set arrived 
in July 1905, and in the ensuing seventeen months the work went 
on apace, culminating in the unveiling of the baldacchino for the 
first time at the solemnity of midnight mass on Christmas Eve 1906. 

The baldacchino occupies an area 31 ft. wide by 15 ft. deep, 
the central space over the high altar being canopied by a vault of 
15 ft. span,' supported on four of the Verona columns, whose 
pedestals rest on the second lowest step of the flight of four below 
the predella. The height from the floor of the sanctuary to the 
springing of the vault is 26 ft., the total height of the canopy 
being about 38 ft. To resist the pressure of the vault at its 
springing, semi-circular canopy-like projections are provided on 
the north and south sides with flat ceilings supported each 
on two columns similar to those bearing the central vault, with 
the difference that, as they rise from the lowest step, the white 
marble portion of their pedestals is increased somewhat in height. 

Upon this white marble footing stand the solid pedestals of 
verde antico, 2 feet square by 5 ft. high, inlaid on each face with 

1 The original design was for a span of 18 ft. This reduction of 3 ft. has spoiled the 
proportions considerably. 


an oval panel of breccia narrowly bordered with gold mosaic' 
These pedestals carry deep and finely moulded bases in statuary 
marble, the material which composes the capitals and all mouldings 
throughout the structure. The lowest member of each capital 
is adorned with small, upright and closely placed acanthi — from 
this circle spring large leaves, more freely treated, and shadowed 
by volutes of classic form. Their abaci are carved with an egg 
and tongue moulding above a minute bead. An oblong panel of 
the pale green campan vert gives the required note of relief in 
the entablature ; its cornice being adorned with the vertical acanthi, 
carved in slight relief. 

Over the main arch is a gable or pediment of Carrara, borne on 
two transverse arches united by a barrel vault. Small lunettes 
break into the vault on either side, and open on to the flat roofs 
of the secondary, or side, canopies. The vaults and ceilings, 
constructed of concrete, are clothed with mosaic in a flower-like 
pattern of tesserae on a gold ground. The lunettes have their 
crescent- shaped soffits lined with a mosaic of deep blue and silver, 
while delicate grilles of wrought iron trebly gilt fill these small arches 
which break into the vault, as we have said, above the flat side 
canopies. The soffits of the two main arches show a succession of 
breccia panels in narrow mouldings of Carrara and enriched with 
delicate inlays of other marbles. In the spaces between gable and 
arch is a square-cut diaper inlaid with mother-of-pearl and lapis- 
lazuli and gold, and varied by a circular plaque of porphyry 
on either side and one of Thessalian marble within a diamond of 
vert campan in the centre. The complete cost of the baldacchino 
was £7,500. 

The low reredos and flanking walls which formed an integral 
part of Bentley's design for the high altar and baldacchino were 
never carried out, and indeed at one time (early in 1904) there was 
grave risk of his plan for the latter being irretrievably spoiled by 

' Cardinal Vaiighan had intended that the bases of the baldacchino columns should 
be adorned with the coat of arms of the donor, and that on all other columns subscribed 
for either the name or a suitable inscription desired by the donors should be engraved. 
In no case has this yet been carried out. 


considerable enlargement. To the Rev. Herbert Lucas the cathe- 
dral owes a deep debt of gratitude in this connection ; it has been 
already recorded in detail (in Chapter IV) how he fought for the 
integrity of the architect's plan of the sanctuary, although he 
failed unfortunately to get the central steps replaced in their 
intended position. His strenuous resistance to the idea of an 
enlarged baldacchino was largely instrumental in averting the 
threatened calamity. Bentley having left merely half-inch scale 
drawings for the baldacchino, but no full-size details and no design 
for the mosaic lining of its vaults and ceilings, these decorative 
adjuncts were completed by Mr. J. A. Marshall (Frontispiece). 

The altar is formed of a single block of Cornish granite 12 ft. 
long by 4 ft. wide and 3 ft. 5 in. high, weighing 12 tons. This 
stone, the gift of the Hon. G. Saville, is unpolished but fine-axed, 
and is destitute of ornament, with the exception of a low retable 
of bronze placed upon the altar immediately after its consecration 
on June 28th, 1908. Upon this stand seven massive yet graceful 
candlesticks of bronze gilt, with a crucifix in the centre, each 
adorned with polished milky opals in the shape of pear-shaped 
pendants. They were executed from the designs of Messrs. Bentley, 
Son & Marshall, and were blessed and used for the first time for 
the mass of consecration. 

At the Gospel side of the high altar stands the archiepiscopal 
throne, a facsimile, though smaller, of the throne in the basilica of 
St. John Lateran. It was the gift of the Catholic Bishops of 
England to the metropolitan see, upon the initiative of the late 
Dr. Patterson, Bishop of Emmaus. The choice of this design, as 
well as of that of the pulpit, was a very great grief to the archi- 
tect, who later told the story of how the Cardinal one day had 
literally taken his breath away by observing, as he proceeded to 
unroll the drawing, that he had " ordered a throne " — (" Just," said 
Bentley, " as though he had ordered an armchair in Tottenham 
Court Road.") " But where is the canopy ? " asked Bentley. 
" Oh ! there is no canopy : it is an exact copy of the throne at 
the Lateran." " Just so," came the ready retort, " a Papal — not 


an archiepiscopal throne ! " But it was too late to protest ; the 
order had been given and the replica, duly carried out in Rome, 
arrived very soon after Bentley's death. It is composed chiefly 
of white statuary marble with mosaic ornament arranged in 
geometrical forms. On the front, below the seat, is cut the 
following inscription : 






The arms of the Cardinal-Archbishop appear in its high back. 
The canopy required for an episcopal throne was eventually de- 
signed by the Bentley firm. Constructed in fumed oak and 
walnut, inlaid with holly and ebony, the head is upheld by a 
panelled and carved backing, which stands on the floor behind the 
throne, and is flanked by side wings. The marble chair, elevated 
on three steps, is placed symmetrically between the two columns 
on the north side of the sanctuary proximate to the altar, while 
the temporary stalls for canons and prebendaries in two rows 
occupy the length of the presbyterium between the throne and 
the parapet, a 7-ft. interval between throne and stalls, and 3 ft. 
between the latter and the parapet, allowing space for circulation. 

The architect was for a time under the impression that the 
choir stalls were provided for by the gift of the famous Dupplin 
carvings. He it was who had casually mentioned to Cardinal 
Vaughan the fact of the existence of these fine stalls, and that 
they were again in the market. Briefly, their description and 
history is as follows. The carvings consist of fifty-four superb 
stalls of ancient workmanship, which originally formed the com- 
plete furnishing of the chapel of the Cistercian monastery of St. 
Urban, near Lucerne. The monastery was suppressed in 1841, 
and the carvings being sold, passed into English hands. They 


were bought in 1866 and moved in forty railway trucks to Uupplin, 
by the eleventh Earl of Kinnoull, who died in 1897. It was owing 
to this event that the carvings were again to change hands. 

Inquiry revealed the price to be prohibitive as far as the 
Cardinal's own resources were concerned ; but, as usual, instant 
assistance was at hand. A generous benefactor came forward, 
bought the stalls, and presented them to the Cardinal, promising 
moreover to bear the expense of fitting them into the cathedral. 
After the purchase the architect for the first time inspected them, 
to discover that they were absolutely unsuited, both in style and 
size, to the requirements of the sanctuary ; it was unfortunate 
that he had not been consulted before the transaction was so 
hastily concluded. He thereupon prepared a complete and very 
beautiful set of designs for stalls to be executed in various 
inlaid woods, which have not yet been carried out. 

The Crypt 

Beneath the high altar repose the bodies of the first two 
Cardinal-Archbishops of Westminster, and by descending to the 
crypt, dedicated to St. Peter, which occupies the whole of the space 
under the retro-choir, it is possible to examine closely their tombs 
and the other details of the mortuary chapel of St. Edmund. The 
approach is by means of the stairways already mentioned in the 
description of the choir. 

The crypt is lighted from the exterior by eight round-headed 
windows on its eastern and northern sides, while six superb 
columns of red Norwegian granite with shallow bases of labra- 
dorite and voluted caps of pale grey marble support the vaulting 
(Plates XX and XXI). The four piers at the western end are sheeted 
with the same red granite, conveying impressions of great strength 
and durability. Between the two innermost stands the altar, 
dedicated to St. Peter, which was brought here from the Church 
of St. Mary, Horseferry Road, closed in 1903, when the cathedral 
was partly opened for parish use. Fronted with superb cipoUino 
slabs, it is approached by means of three steps of the grey Hopton 


Wood stone, the floor of the main portion of the crypt being 
laid with polished parquetry. 

The curved wall of the ambulatory beyond the columns has 
received the greater part of its marble vesture, completed in 
1907, which consists of very finely matched slabs of the Greek 
cipollino of a particularly fresh green hue, and so skilfully 
worked and arranged that almost the effect of a drapery is pro- 
duced by the repetition of the fold-like markings. The slabs are 
enclosed in bands and mouldings of Hopton Wood. In the 
window reveals the brickwork still remains as bare as the concrete 
vaulting, alike awaiting their mosaic covering from the generosity 
of some future benefactor. 

On the south side of the ambulatory three reliquaries have 
been constructed in the thickness of the wall, in positions corre- 
sponding with the windows opposite. Faced with polished Hopton 
Wood stone, and lined with cedar of Lebanon, they are enclosed 
by metal grilles or casements, glazed and gilded. Particularly 
charming and effective is the break thus made in the continuity 
of the cipollino walling. 

The inner crypt immediately under the high altar contains 
the tombs of the two Cardinals, that of Wiseman being in the 
centre and of Manning on the north side. An altar dedicated to 
St. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, occupies the corre- 
sponding recess on the south side ; it is of the grey Derbyshire 
marble, with an open front beneath which repose relics of the 
saintly prelate. The altar steps are of the same material, the re- 
mainder of the floor space being paved with cipollino. In the 
arcosolium above the altar is a mosaic lunette of an incident 
in the life of the saint, designed by the late W. Christian 
Symons. It depicts St. Edmund, accompanied by several attend- 
ants, blessing the city of London, before leaving England. The 
saint is standing beside " silver-flowing Thames," while London 
Bridge, the Tower, and old St. Paul's form the background of the 
picture. A silver cross in the sky symbolizes the blessing bestowed. 
Though the treatment of water and sky is successful, the panel 


is perhaps rather too near the eye to be decoratively altogether 

The bodies of Cardinals Wiseman and Manning were removed 
with the utmost privacy from Kensal Green Cemetery to the 
cathedral crypt, after a number of years spent in overcoming the 
legal difficulties involved. The long-desired permission at length 
obtained by the good offices of the Right Hon. H. J. Gladstone, 
then Home Secretary, was due to the persevering efforts of the 
fourth Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Bourne. The leaden 
coffin containing the remains of Cardinal Wiseman was found still 
perfect and hermetically sealed, though the oak shell had com- 
pletely perished ; its metal plate was discoloured, but un- 
injured, and was laid on the leaden coffin when entombed in the 
crypt. Cardinal Manning's oak coffin, interred fifteen years 
before, was perfectly sound, with the inscription plate attached. 
The work of exhumation was attended with considerable diffi- 
culty, owing to both coffins having been embedded in cement. 

On the nights of January 25th and January 30th, 1907, the 
quiet and solemn ceremony of re-interment took place. Closed 
hearses conveyed the coffins to the cathedral, where they were 
met by the Archbishop and a few representatives of the chapter 
and the cathedral clergy. A solemn requiem for the two great 
men, devoted in life and henceforth to rest side by side in death, 
was chanted in the cathedral on February 15th, the forty- 
second anniversary of Wiseman's death. 

Cardinal Wiseman's resting-place in the crypt is marked by the 
Gothic monument, designed by Edward Pugin and subscribed for 
by the Catholics of England, that covered his grave at Kensal 
Green. This, though always protected from the weather by a 
chamber of glass, needed some renovation before its re-erection. 
The mitred head of the recumbent figure is supported by angels, 
the body resting on a tomb of alabaster with a slender column 
of dark marble at each angle. Centrally on either side beneath a 
crock eted and triple-arched canopy are figures of saints. The 
lateral quatrcfoil panels have sculptured representations of inci- 

I— 10 


dents in the lives of these saints, in bas-reUef. The plinth is 
of a dark-toned marble. 

Bentley, inspired by deep affection and veneration for one 
whom he had always regarded as a saint, had prepared in 1892 
a very beautiful design for Cardinal Manning's tomb. That the 
design was only in part carried out was probably due to the rapid 
development of the cathedral project so soon after his death, 
whence naturally followed the idea that Kensal Green was to be 
but a temporary resting-place. 

Cardinal Manning's tomb occupies the recess opposite to that 
in which the altar of St. Edmund stands. The recumbent effigy — 
cast in bronze by Messrs. Singer & Sons, from a model by the 
well-known sculptor and friend of the Cardinal, the late John 
Adams-Acton — is clad in cappa magna and rochet, with the right 
hand resting on a biretta at his side. The letters R.I.P., enclosed 
within a graceful laurel wreath, appear in the centre of the bronze 
bed on which the figure reposes, while heads of cherubim resting 
on their folded wings support it at the corners. The bust, now 
in the possession of the Duke of Norfolk, for which Cardinal 
Manning gave the sculptor twenty sittings, served as the model 
for the head of this effigy. It was of this bust, when expressing 
his pleasure at Mr. Adams-Acton's success, that Manning had 
said : "I wish that representation of me to be the one carried 
down to posterity as my portrait." 

The sarcophagus beneath is of white marble, with a central 
oblong panel of deep red set between the carved armorial bearings 
of Cardinal Manning and the see of Westminster. Incised in the 
red stone is the following inscription : 


JANUARY 25, 1907. 


The recess which embraces the tomb is lined with alternate 
vertical strips of cipoUino and breccia up to the springing of the 
arch, where a cornice of acanthus leaves carved in white marble 
makes an elegant termination, A little below this moulding are 
two oval panels of the rich red marble enclosed in wreaths of bronze 
gilt. A slab of campan melange, a black and white breccia from 
the Pyrenees, fills the centre portion of the tympanum, while 
the vault above is coffered with panels of the red that composes 
the ovals. The Cardinal's red hat, which had hung since his 
death in the " Pro-Cathedral " at Kensington, is suspended from 
the arch above the body. The cost of the monument was met 
by subscriptions. Unfortunately the remaining brick and con- 
crete work of the mortuary chapel is still destitute of adornment, 
though Bentley left complete designs for the marble-work of the 
crypt, inclusive of the entrances. 


THE INTERIOR (Continued) 

Baptistery — Font — Chapel of SS. Gregory and Augustine — Chapel of St. Patrick and the 
saints of Ireland — Chapel of St. Andrew and the Scottish saints — Chapel of St. Paul 
— South aisle — South transept — Lady Chapel — Blessed Sacrament Chapel — Shrine of 
the Sacred Heart and St. Michael — Vaughan Chantry — North transept and porch^ 
Chapel of St. Joseph — Chapel of St. George and the English Martyrs — Chapel of the 
Holy Souls — The tower chamber or registry — The north-west porch — The sacristies. 

Having concluded the examination of nave, sanctuary, apse, and 
crypt, the visitor will retrace his steps to the narthex, thence to 
begin the tour of the lateral portions of the interior. We will 
preface this description of the chapels of the cathedral by remarking 
that, with but two exceptions — the chapel of St. Thomas of Canter- 
bury and the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, for which no designs 
were made — Bentley left half-inch scale drawings in which the 
main lines of their marble decoration were laid down ; and, except 
in the case of the chapel of St. Andrew, which has received its 
completion both of marble and mosaic from another hand, there 
is no valid reason why these designs should not be used as the basis 
of their marble revetment. At least, so we are informed by com- 
petent professional advisers. And Cardinal Vaughan's solemn 
public promise that the unity of Bentley's work should be preserved 
to the end would lead one to imagine that every scrap of paper 
bearing but the slightest indication of his ideas for the completion 
of the magnus opus would be reverently treasured and the lines 
thereby indicated as faithfully followed. Unhappily it is to be 
feared that the fact will be very far removed from this reasonable 
supposition. Of course, in the case of the chapels of St. Gregory 
and St. Augustine and of the Holy Souls, the full sets of drawings 
were completed and the marbles chosen before Bentley's death. 



The Baptistery 

Through a broad and deep brick archway at the south side 
of the narthex, we enter the baptistery, a square cross-vaulted 
compartment whose walls, as yet of unadorned brickwork, enclose 
Bentley's splendid font as a glowing jewel in a setting of un- 
polished bronze. The south wall is broken by an arched recess 
of similar proportions, while the west end gains in interest and 
charm by means of a group of vaulted niches which will become 
features of great decorative worth when the marble wall lining 
is applied. The west wall is constructed with an arch deep 
on soffite containing a pair of lights ; flanking this are four 
niches, two in the west wall and one on each side just beyond its 
angle of junction with the north and south walls. Over the 
pair of segmental-topped lights, glazed with the usual greenish 
glass in ornamental leadwork, the tympanum contains a 
small glazed opening of irregular pentagonal form. Above the 
window arch additional light filters through the great lunette of 
terracotta latticing, glazed with Venetian roundels as in the 
clerestory lattices. 

The baptistery is separated from the chapel of St. Gregory 
and St. Augustine by a marble screen (Plate XXIII), which, it 
will be readily conceded, is one of the most charming bits of 
interior detail in the whole building. In design and choice of 
material it owes everything to the mind of the master, while its 
successful interpretation is due to the marble firm of Whitehead. 
From two superb columns of milky pavonazzo,'^ crowned with deli- 
cate Byzantine-Ionic caps of the same material, springs an arch of 
elegant proportions, its soffit lined with pavonazzo, its face mould- 
ings enriched with a bead and reel detail in unpolished Carrara. 
The entablature, thrown from pier to pier, there meets pavonazzo 
pilasters, and rests on acanthus caps of unpolished Carrara. 
Above the arch occur slabs of pale violet breccia, divided by 

* These columns were quarried in Greece and shared the fate of the nave monoliths, 
when these suffered capture by the Turks in 1897. 


narrow vertical strips of campan vert ; while surmounting each 
lintel this green marble is repeated in a diamond-shaped device, 
set in a fine panel of veined campan melange. The cornice of 
statuary is carved in low relief with ten acanthus leaves, these and 
the other details being identical on both sides of the screen. The 
bases of the columns and the low parapet of pavonazzo (measuring 
4 ft. high on the baptistery side and 2 ft. 11 in. on the chapel 
side) rest on a plinth of portoro (a black marble with yellowish 
veining), which occurs also in the skirting of the chapel. There is 
thus an ascent of two steps from the baptistery level. 

The font, of octagonal form, 4 ft. 4 in. high and 7 ft. 6 in. in 
diameter, has a deep circular basin 5 ft. in diameter to contain 
the baptismal water. For the convenience of the celebrant, 
there is a segmental projection on the western side, hollowed to 
contain a small oval uncovered basin of white marble. The great 
basin is closed with a flat undecorated lid of oak, and there is no 
provision for a canopy. 

As regards material, the general effect is obtained by means 
of three tones and varieties of green marble, although plinth and 
coping are composed entirely of strongly marked pavonazzo. 
The eight angular pilasters are of verde antico, capped with 
pavonazzo mouldings ; the upper panels on the eight faces of the 
font are executed in moss-green marble, carved in low relief with 
a cross above a disc, symbolic of the world dominated by the 
power of Christ's sacrifice for us. Of verde antico again are the 
lower panels, cut back at their lower edges to form an arched 
moulding enclosing lunettes of well-chosen specimens of cipollino. 
The required note of contrast in this gamut of green is struck 
with the utmost restraint and refinement by means of the two 
narrow superimposed panels of fine red marble which, set in a 
slender inlay of gold mosaic, flank the upper panels. 

The font is raised on a dais of white marble, ascended by 
three steps, and inlaid with six circles of rosso antico, with 
interlacing borders of lozenge work in giallo antico. An oblong 
slab of Coimemara green occupies the spot on which the celebrant 


stands before the font. The baptistery floor is composed of white 
marble inset with large squares of Siena, alternately plain or 
enclosing circles of greyish-green Connemara ; these latter, note- 
worthy on account of their exceptional size, were not obtained 
without great difficulty, as this marble is treacherous to work in 
slabs of any considerable dimensions. It was distinctly an achieve- 
ment, therefore, and the result of infinite pains on the part of 
Farmer & Brindley, who laid this flooring, to produce these circles 
4 ft. 6 in. in diameter. 

The Dowager Lady Loder (whose death took place in 1907) 
was the generous donor of the font, made in Rome in 1901. It was 
by Cardinal Vaughan's arrangement that Bentley's design was 
thus deprived, much against his approval, of the devoted super- 
vision he always lavished on the execution of his work. Specimens 
of the marbles to be used were, at least, submitted for his 
approval early in the year ; and at the end of December the 
Cardinal announced that the font was finished and had left Rome. 
Bentley never saw it, for it remained in packing-cases until many 
months later, when the Roman masons came over to set it in 
place (Plate XXIV). 

Within the recess of the southern wall of the baptistery is 
placed a large and roomy confessional of Austrian oak, fumed 
and wax polished. The exterior is effective, with elaborately 
carved panels in interlaced strapwork designs, and a cornice with 
the favourite acanthus supported on six pilasters. Similar double 
confessionals will ultimately be provided for most of the side 
chapels, to be placed against their west walls ; while single 
boxes will find a place against the piers of the nave on their 
eastern sides. 

The niche adjoining the above-mentioned recess now contains 
a statue of St. John the Baptist, the gift of the third Marquess 
of Bute, whose devotion to his patron saint is thus commemorated. 
Of this statue, which is a replica, in block tin, of that by the 
Danish sculptor Thorwaldsen, it has been very justly remarked 
that it cannot in any way claim to be in harmony with its 


surroundings,' though the merciful finger of Time has effected 
a shght improvement by subduing to some extent the harsh 
tones of the material. 

Chapel of St. Gregory and St. Augustine 

Very gay and brilliant is the general effect produced by the 
decoration of this chapel, dedicated to England's two great apostles 
(for Pope St. Gregory may surely be claimed as her apostle, con- 
secrated by desire). Of course on the lower surfaces of the piers 
will be found the deeper tones needed to convey a true impression 
of strength and solidity. The slabs of very light breccia which 
line the south wall are divided by vertical strips of black marble 
with white inlaid patterns, and rise from a low seating of 
figured levanto, which runs the whole length of this wall and 
supports the simple credence table of statuary marble. The uni- 
formity of this breccia revetment is broken by the introduction 
of a vertical panel of verde antico in the centre of this wall, pro- 
jecting about Ij in. and framed in a slender moulding of the 
second statuary marble which composes the simple cornice at the 
height of the window-sills. This white string continues round 
the piers at the same height ; below it they are clothed with 
alternate slabs of levanto with smoky figuring and verde 
antico. Above, the lighter effect demanded by proximity to 
the golden mosaic is produced by a combination of campan 
melange with the light grey-green of a variety of campan vert, 
crowned at the height of the springing with the main cornice of 

It will be observed that here, as in the opposite chapel dedicated 
to the Holy Souls and in the sanctuary arcading, the architect has 
" initiated the principle of framing the variegated revetment with 
white marble only ; thus there is not that confusion of colour or 
workmanship, nor that rampant effect of the strings, cornices, and 

1 Mr. Bernard Whelan, Consecration Handbook, June 1910. 

I'LATK XXI. — Four of the Crypt Capitals. 






Plate XXII. — Four Sculptured Capitals : A, B, and D, Interior (Photo by Mr. Percy Lamb.) ; 

C. Exterior {Photo by Mr. R. Davis). 



architraves that one so often sees when the reverse method is 
adopted ; in a word, the effect is refined rather than bizarre." ' 

The chapel is entered from the aisle through two arched 
openings borne on a pair of splendid coupled columns of Swiss 
cipollino. The arches are lined on soffite, and have face mouldings 
of Verona marble, in a warm pinkish variety ; the soffits being 
inlaid with a series of panels of light red Brocatello marble, with 
interlaced bordering lines of black and gold mosaic. Beneath 
the unpolished sculptured corbels, at their springing are square 
moulded frames of polished Carrara, containing subjects in opus 
sectile ; the story of the Just Judge being depicted on the east, 
and an incident in the life of St. Augustine on the west pier. 

Turning now to the east end, we note to right and left of the 
altar a superb slab of rouge jaspe marble, with pale markings, 
inset with an oval of Swiss cipollino, fi-amed in a billet 
moulding of Carrara. The altar is of pavonazzo, with a mensa of 
Norwegian pink marble and a frontal of orange hue, composed of 
four invisibly united slabs of straw Siena, bordered with an inlay 
of lapis-lazuli and mother-of-pearl. As originally carried out, 
this frontal was of golden-toned breccia, and the altar slab of rosa 
d'ltalia ; but after some years these two marbles unfortunately 
began to evince signs of decay, produced by the green condition 
of the brick backing, and were replaced, at Messrs. Whitehead's 
cost, by the marbles described. The dossal is composed of three 
superbly figured panels of Greek cipollino, a clear green with 
wave-like markings, bordered with delicate lines of gold mosaic 
and framed in moulded Carrara (Plate XXVI). 

The altar is recessed within an arch, the altar-piece occupying 
its entire width and continuing the line of the upper cornice. 
Framed in Carrara, it consists of a central canopied portion and 
two wings, whose subjects are executed in opus sectile, mosaic 
being unsuitable on account of proximity to the eye. This reredos 
supplies the key, as it were, to the idea embodied in the mosaic 

' Mr. John A. Marshall, paper read before the Architectural Association, April 
12th, 1907. 


decoration of the chapel — viz : the evangelization of England 
directly from Rome. 

Beneath the central pediment stand, side by side and facing 
the spectator, a golden arcading behind their heads, the two great 
saints of the chapel's dedication. Pope St. Gregory, on the left, 
with pallium and triple crown, and bearing his pastoral staff in 
his left hand, is seemingly giving heed to the message brought by 
the Holy Spirit as a dove, who is seen approaching his right ear. 
St. Augustine, in monkish habit, carries in his left hand the repre- 
sentation of the Sacred Face, borne as the banner of his little 
mission to English shores. In the double panels of the wings 
are the figures of St. Augustine's companions ; clad all in epis- 
copal garments and standing on pedestals inscribed with their 
names. St. Laurence and St. Mellitus appear on the right, St. 
Justin and St. Paulinus on the left. The background, of which 
but a small portion is revealed, is of a deep rich blue, with deco- 
rative borders of gold. 

The colouring of the altarpiece is rich and glowing, with the 
exception of the flesh tints, which are somewhat anaemic ; the 
treatment, in the conventional modern manner familiar to all who 
know Clayton & Bell's careful work, cannot be said to be inspired 
by the precept of "Byzantine style and Greek drawing" im- 
pressed so strenuously by Bentley on those who were to take part 
in the decoration of his magnum opus. The late Mr. Clayton's 
faith in progress in art and his belief that the attempt to re- 
suscitate the dead in styles of art is a profound mistake, are the 
reasons given for employing a treatment so remote from the 
methods of Byzantine workers. 

Panels in opus sectile fill, as we have said, the frames on the two 
northern piers of the chapel. In reference to the profession adorned 
by the donor of the chapel, that on the north-eastern side depicts 
the story of Solomon, the just judge. Seated on his throne of 
judgment, before him stand and kneel the rival claimant mothers, 
while to the right a soldier with a sword holds the unfortunate 
infant by its foot, preparatory to giving effect to Solomon's 


judgment. The inscription timver : regem videntes sap : dei 
ESSE IN EO AD FACiEN : JUD : appears at the foot of this picture, 
which was the generous gift of Messrs, Clayton & Bell. 

The frame on the north-west pier remained empty for several 
years, the original intention being to illustrate therein a divine 
judgment tempered with mercy, our Lord's forgiveness of the 
woman taken in adultery. The panel was at length completed in 
October 1912, with an historical subject which really comes first in 
point of time in the sequence of decoration. Pope St. Gregory is 
seen standing in the slave market of Rome, in converse with the 
golden-haired children of the Angles ; his hand rests on the head 
of the youngest of the group of three, behind which stands the 
owner, apparently with free gesticulation emphasising the merits 
of the slaves he desires to sell. A negro slave appears in the 
background to the left ; on the other side of St. Gregory stands 
an attendant, carrying his pastoral staff. Behind the figures is a 
marble portico through which we glimpse green trees, the blue of 
southern skies, and the distant hills of the Campagna. Along the 
top of the panel runs the inscription : non angli sed angeli si 
CHRiSTiANi : along the base we read : patri patri^ nostra 


Bentley's most sumptuous design for the floor of this chapel 
had from considerations of economy, urged by Lord Brampton, 
to be greatly simplified, and as carried out it consists in the main 
of slabs of Bardiglio fiorita, a cold grey marble with darker veining. 
Running from the cipollino columns to the opposite wall is a dark 
strip of inlaying to break the uniformity of the grey, composed of 
lines of black marble, and the deep green known as vert des Alpes 
with a Siena yellow inlay in bead and reel pattern. Longitudin- 
ally on the north and south sides run squares of breche violette, 
set in a white marble surround and framed by chequered borders 
of black and white. 

The altar steps are of white marble, the predella displaying 
a panel of Brocatello between two of breche violette enclosed in a 
banding of Siena. The two white steps which raise the chapel 


floor above the level of that of the aisle meet, beneath the north- 
eastern arch, with a temporary bed of wooden planking. Here 
should be placed the exquisite grilles which formed an important 
part of the original design. The illustration shows that Bentley 
intended the tombs of the joint founders to be in this space to 
the left of the altar, with the gilt metal screen above them up to 
the springing of the arch. Recumbent effigies were to rest on 
the tomb to perpetuate their memory, and mutely beg the suf- 
frages of the faithful through the long ages to come. The com- 
mission to prepare the models for these figures had evidently been 
given to the late Joseph W. Swynnerton, and inspired the fol- 
lowing letter addressed to Bentley from his studio in Rome, to 
explain a sketch previously forwarded : 

"2, Via Montebello, Rome. 
"February 21««, 1901. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I hasten to acknowledge your letter, for I fear I have not 
sufficiently explained that my sketch is merely a suggestion. I 
placed a man on a couch — a man of about the proportions of Lord 
Brampton — and drew him in full robes and wig. But I should 
look to you for the design of the tombs themselves, as they have 
to be in harmony with the chapel. 

" If you will kindly send me some such idea in a sketch, how- 
ever rough, I will endeavour to carry your idea out in a new 
drawing. Do you propose to make the tombs side by side, or one 
on each side of the chapel ? And if side by side, should both 
figures lie on one couch ? I thought of placing an open book against 
the feet of Lord Brampton — or some such thing, to break the ugly 
line — and at Lady Brampton's feet a dog. In conclusion I want 
your guidance and I will do my best to content you. I shall hope 
if the work goes on to see you in Rome when I have the model in 
clay. We will very gladly put you up. 

" Faithfully yours, 

" Joseph W. Swynnerton." 


The work was fated never to proceed ; Lord and Lady Bramp- 
ton made no provision for any such memorial during their life- 
time, and at their death, within a few weeks of each other, six 
years later, the bulk of their large fortune was left unconditionally 
to the Archbishop of Westminster, with the suggestion that the 
testators would wish, subject to his approbation, to benefit the 
diocese and the hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth in 
Marylebone Road. To this purpose, therefore, we believe that 
the whole bequest was applied, and hence there is no special 
memorial or record in this chapel of St. Gregory and St. Augustine 
to keep green the memory of those by whose piety it was erected 
and adorned. 

Better known to the world of his day and to the terror of evil- 
doers as Sir Henry Hawkins, the eminent lawyer and judge. Lord 
Brampton (as he became in 1899) was during many years honoured 
with Cardinal Manning's warm friendship. In those days he had no 
thought of joining the Catholic Church, and has left it on record 
that never did the Cardinal make the slightest attempt to prosely- 
tize him. His second wife was a Catholic, and a splendid bene- 
factor to the Cathedral Building Fund. It was undoubtedly due 
to her prayers and influence that her distinguished husband made 
profession of the same faith in 1898, a few months before his 
retirement from the Bench. The chapel thus given as a joint 
thank-offering by husband and wife was intended to be their 
chantry; we have seen how it happened that in the absence of the 
beautiful sarcophagus and grille Bentley desired to raise beneath 
the eastern arch, this idea remains incompletely expressed. The 
cost of the fabric, and the marble and mosaic work, exclusive of 
the opus sectile panels on the piers, was £8,500 (Plate XXVII). 

Lord Brampton died in October 1907, and his body was carried 
to the cathedral to lie in solemn state in his chantry chapel on 
the 10th of that month, the solemn requiem being sung by Dr. 
Johnson, Bishop of Arindela, on the following day. He was soon 
followed to their chantry and to his grave in Kensal Green by his 
wife, who died on December 17th following. 


Before proceeding to describe the mosaics we may recall that 
a melancholy interest attaches, for those who knew and loved the 
architect, to the marble work of the south wall. Here, on February 
28th, 1902, apparently in better health than he had enjoyed for 
long past, Bentley with characteristic concentration stood watching 
the masons who applied the first slabs of breccia and verde antico, 
truly the first fruits of his cathedral's internal adornment, all 
that, in the inscrutable designs of Providence, he was to be per- 
mitted to enjoy. Forty hours later his earthly race was run. 

The surfaces to be covered with mosaic comprise (a) the barrel 
vault roofing the chapel, with the spandrels of the lateral arches ; 
(6) the two lunettes and the spandrels of the great supporting 
arches of the east and west ends respectively ; (c) the tympanum 
of the arch of the altar recess with its soffit and archivolt ; and {d) 
the jambs and reveals of the window arches. 

To observe the historical sequence of the story pictured, one 
must begin with the tympanum above the altarpiece. Here the 
central figure is St. Gregory, enthroned and turning with out- 
stretched hands to St. Augustine, who kneels on his right, to charge 
him with the apostolic mission the sainted Pope himself had so 
long yearned to undertake. The Pontiff is clad in a white garment, 
beneath a robe of purple bordered with gold ; he wears the triple 
crown, and holds in his left hand a scroll on which the words : cor 
CORAM DEO are legible. 

The throne draperies of crimson and gold are in effective contrast 
with the sober grey habit of St. Augustine, who with yearning 
hands joyfully accepts the apostleship of England. On the 
Pope's right stands the cross-bearer and a group of St. Augustine's 
companions. On the left of the throne four standing figures 
gaze towards the missionary band ; a bishop in mitre and 
cope of deep red, powdered with golden crosses, accompanied by 
a cleric carrying his pastoral staff and the banner of the holy 
vernicle ; two more priestly figures, one with a censer, complete 
the picture. They stand on a tessellated floor, against a background 
of plain gold mosaic, its upper edge bordered with the explanatory 


inscription : + s. gregorius magnus augustinum in angliam 


caturum. Outside this a decorative band in a conventional 
design mainly of blue and white on a gold ground meets the plain 
gold lining of the soffit, the blue and white arabesque being 
repeated to border the arch face. 

The great lunette of the east end carries us to the next incident 
in the story, the reception of St. Augustine and his band by 
Ethelbert, King of Kent. Centrally, the king and his Christian wife 
Bertha sit enthroned side by side beneath the spreading branches 
of a tree, attended, on the queen's left, by a group comprising 
one of her ladies, the king's chamberlain, and a warrior with sword 
and spear. The royal pair look to their right, at the standing 
group of three missionaries, with whose leader, St. Augustine, the 
king appears to be in argument ; the queen listens devoutly and 
humbly, her hands joined in supplication. Along the base of the 
picture runs the inscription : sanctus augustinus anglorum 


Demi-figures of St. Peter and St. Paul vsfithin circular medal- 
lions appear in the upper part of the spandrels, the lower halves 
being filled with foliated arabesques in blue, white, and green 
on the gold ground. Both saints face the spectator ; St. Paul, 
on the right, carries the sword of his martyrdom and a scroll with 
the word paulus servus jesu christi. St. Peter holds the keys 
in his right hand and in the other a scroll inscribed petrus apos- 
tolus jesu CHRISTI ; the names of the saints being repeated in a 
label beneath their respective medallions. 

A sheathing of gold mosaic encrusts the crown of the barrel 
vault, the tesserae of unvarying size and shape being set with 
precision, close-jointed, longitudinally in straight lines. Six full- 
length figures of saints occupy the ramp of the vault, three on 
either side, standing on herbage of tender green sown with the 
flowers of spring. Behind, to half their height, runs a low arcaded 
parapet (distinctly Romanesque in detail), executed in a low tone 
of bluish-grey. Each saint is divided from the next by a long- 


stemmed blossoming tree of extremely conventional form. On the 
north one observes, nearest to the altar, St. Edmund, king and 
martyr, bearing the arrows of his martyrdom and the royal orb ; 
next. Venerable Bede with book and pen ; thirdly, St. Oswald, 
King of Northumbria, bearing sceptre and cross. On the op- 
posite ramp are depicted St. Wilfrid of York, bishop and martyr ; 
St. Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order ; and 
St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, all carrying pastoral staves. Cardinal 
Vaughan's first list of saints to occupy these positions included St. 
Alban, who, being a British saint and therefore not in historical 
continuity with St. Augustine's mission, was suitably replaced by 
St. Oswald. The spandrels are filled with foliated ornament in 
green upon a background of crimson and gold ; while the deco- 
ration of the window jambs and reveals is a repetition of that 
employed in the arch above the altar. 

The historic aspect of the evangelization of England is aban- 
doned when we come to the pictorial decoration of the west end 
adjoining the baptistery, and instead we find in symbol and alle- 
gory representations of the sacrament of baptism. The lunette 
above the arch is divided into three compartments by vertical 
lines of ornament ; in the centre St. John the Baptist and St. 
Augustine stand side by side ; the side panels contain allegorical 
three-quarter length figures, enclosed in circles of decorative detail, 
representing the waters of baptism, which flow down in a copious 
stream into the spandrels of the arch from the tilted vessels in 
their hands. In the soffit are four demi-figures of angels bearing 
scrolls inscribed with the names of the four rivers of the garden 
of Paradise, Tigris, Pison, Gihon, and Euphrates. These are 
surrounded with foliation, which is repeated more formally in the 
border on the archivolt. 

The marble work of this chapel was ordered from Messrs. 
Whitehead in February 1901, and its fixing began under the 
devoted supervision of Mr. Joseph Whitehead in February 1902. 
It was rapidly pressed forward to completion by October of that 
year, so that without undue delay the mosaicists were enabled 


to set up their scaffolding. In July Cardinal Vaughan wrote from 
Nauheim (where he was undergoing a cure) to Mr. Clayton to 
desire him to employ whom he thought fit to carry out his then 
practically completed designs. The firm of Clayton & Bell had 
been selected at Lord Brampton's express wish ' to design the 
mosaics for this chapel about a year before Bentlcy's death, the 
principal, the late Mr. J. R. Clayton, having been known to the 
latter for many years as a friend of Mr. T. C. Lewis, the organ- 
builder, and Mr. John Whitaker, both numbered among the 
architect's friends and clients. 

The architect and the mosaicist met, of course, to discuss 
preliminaries ; but, the commission once offered and accepted, 
they saw very little of each other, and although Bentley took op- 
portunity to speak emphatically against the importation of any 
Gothic spirit into the designs, the question of technique, said 
Mr. Clayton, was never raised between them. We have already 
had occasion to refer to the latter's views on the " resuscitation of 
the dead in art." Bentley's position was that the art of Byzan- 
tium was by no means dead, but, so to say, in a trance and awaiting, 
since the days of Mohammedan conquest, its re-awakening and 
call to a new life. It is precisely this attitude towards the style 
and this adaptation of its principles that has rendered Bentley's 
cathedral a living soulful thing — qualities that would have been 
lacking had it been moulded by the hands of a slavish copyist. 

Before setting to work Mr. Clayton had desired' that 
all angles should be hollowed and rounded to receive the 
tesserae, for these, if applied to angular surfaces, woxild have a 
tendency to drop from their setting ; besides, the high lights 
repeated by such an arrangement of concave and convex surfaces 
would produce a softened effect in the mantle of gold. Bentley 
arranged for this preparation of the surfaces to receive the mosaics, 

' Bentley wrote to a friend on March 23rd, 1900 : " The chapel opposite [to that of 
the Holy Souls] has been given, I believe, on the understanding that the work is placed 
in the hands of Clayton." 

' We do not intend to imply that Bentley was unaware of this technical point. The 
old mosaicists were well aUve to the fact and he had given careful study to their work. 



and here his influence on Mr. Clayton's work ended. Mr. George 
Bridge, the mosaicist, who had been thoroughly imbued with the 
architect's views, carried them out with fidelity in the technique 
of the first chapel decorated, i.e. that of the Holy Souls ; but 
when he came to execute Mr. Clayton's cartoons we find that the 
latter's instructions have been no less faithfully observed. The 
tesserae here as we have seen, are rectangular, close- jointed, and 
set with almost geometrical precision. 

The mosaics, begun in December 1902, were completed in 
May 1904. The marble floor was then laid, and the chapel emerged 
triumphant from its long imprisonment behind screens of wood 
and canvas. 

The Chapel of St. Patrick and the Saints of Ireland 

This national dedication has been given to the adjacent chapel 
in the south aisle, since it is intended to be specially the gift of 
the Irish people to the cathedral. At present the decoration has 
made but little advance ; the altar being its sole adornment. It 
is hoped that Erin's devout sons and daughters will not long suffer 
bare walls to testify to their love of their great patron saint. 

Since the chapel's east end is formed in the structure of a 
main pier, there is scope for a somewhat deeper recessment of the 
arch above the altar, to right and left of which it is broached 
with a vaulted niche producing a charming variety of effect. The 
steps and predella are of Irish green fossil marble, which, arranged 
in conjunction with cipoUino in alternate horizontal courses, forms 
the reredos (hereafter to be completed with a canopy). The 
altar frontal of pale green marble from Connemara, like to the 
waves that wash its shores, has a centre panel of dark red, known 
as Victoria marble, from Cork, the symbolic entwined serpents at 
each end being of Italian cipollino, carved in low relief. Black 
Irish fossil marble composes mensa and dossal ; the latter being 
powdered with an inlay of shamrock leaves in mother-of-pearl, and 
terminated at either end with reeded pilasters of Italian cipollino. 
It is intended to use Irish marbles as much as may be practicable 


in this chapel. The altar, in its colour and material, certainly 
seeks to express something of the mysticism attributed to the 
Celtic temperament. It was designed by Mr. J. A. Marshall, of 
the Bentley firm, and carried out by Farmer & Brindley in 1910. 
Bentley himself had prepared designs for a reredos and a con- 
siderable portion of the marble wall revetment. 

The column of the north side is of Greek cipoUino, with the 
usual rather low base of grey-toned labradorite, raised by two steps 
above the aisle level. The pair of two-light windows, filled with 
rough temporary glazing, await the artistic lead and glass work 
planned by the architect. 

The Chapel of St. Andrew and the Scottish Saints 

In the next chapel eastwards again we find a national dedica- 
tion in a shrine whose decoration of marble and mosaic has recently 
been completed and enclosed behind tall grilles of white metal. 
The chapel was unveiled on the Feast of St. Andrew, 1915, when 
Cardinal Bourne celebrated Mass at its altar (which had been 
consecrated in 1910), being served, as befitted the occasion, by the 
donor. The nmnificent benefactor is the present (fourth) Marquess 
of Bute, who promised £10,000 to complete the chapel on the 
condition, accepted by Cardinal Bourne, that Mr. Schultz Weir 
should carry out in its entirety the marble and mosaic decoration. 
We are told that designs, based on Bentley's drawings, had 
already been prepared by the Bentley firm ; but in some mysterious 
and unexplained fashion the entire set disappeared and their fate 
has never become known. 

The following description of the decoration of the chapel ap- 
peared in The Builder of December 10th, 1915 : 

" Tall openwork screens of white metal separate the chapel 
from the south aisle. The floor is of marble and carries on the 
ancient tradition of a ' pavement like the sea.' Large slabs of 
purple breccia marble occupy the central space and round this 
are edgings of verde antico, enclosing a border of sea-green lona 
marble, in which fishes are inlaid. The walls of the chapel are 


lined with marble up to the level of the abacus of the capital of 
the great pillar of the arches dividing it from the church proper. 
The scheme is divided into two in height, the lower part up to 
the level of the window-sill consisting of a high dado of blue 
Hymettian marble, with a skirting and string-com'se of white Pen- 
telic ; over this are panels of old cipollino and red Skyros bordered 
with strips of white Pentelic. The frieze is formed of two different 
sorts of marble, a yellow and a green, arranged in a simple pattern 
cut by a fret-saw in such a way that there is no waste of material. 
Round the upper part of the blue slabs forming the high dado have 
been incised the names of Scottish saints arranged in clrronological 
order according to centuries, thus emphasizing the full dedication of 
the chapel, which is to ' St. Andrew and the Saints of Scotland.' 

" The window Unings are formed of white PenteUc with pavon- 
azzo slabs, pillars of Levanto and outer pilasters of giallo antico. 
In the tympana are figures of the two archangels Gabriel and 
Michael in low relief. Three steps lead up to the altar, which is 
of the open type, the table-top being a large slab of dark Alloa 
granite supported on five pillars of red Peterhead granite with 
bronze capitals and a base slab of grey Aberdeen granite. The 
altar is placed under a baldaccliino supported on pillars and pilasters 
of verde antico marble with bronze capitals and bases, the canopy 
over and the blocks under the pillars being of Pentelic. The wall 
behind the altar is lined with cipollino with a cross inlaid into 
same of old Egyptian porphpy, the border being of white Pentelic. 
On this cross is placed a beaten copper figure of our Lord, the 
living Christ, the Intercessor. On the east wall on either side 
are four panels containing figm'es of four principal Scottish saints 
— Ninian, Margaret, Bride, and Columba. These are sculptiu'ed 
in low relief on Pentelic marble slabs. Long fiat pilasters divide 
the marble lining of the chapel from that of the church proper ; 
these are of porphyry-colom'cd rosso antico marble. 

" On the south side are two pairs of windows glazed with 
' crystal-white ' glass in leaded patterns with the wliite cross of 
St. Andrew on a blue ground (azure, a saltire argent) introduced. 


Between the windows are two detached pillars of cipoHino with 
carved capitals, supporting the arches over. On the wall beliind 
these pillars is a slab containing the dedicatory inscription, which 
reads as follows :^' This chapel is dedicated to the Glory of God 
under the invocation of Saint Andrew and the Saints of Scotland. 
Anno Domini mcmxiv.' 

" The upper part of the walls and the arches and vaults are 
covered with mosaics. These deal with the story of St. Andrew, 
and are designed in a simple and conventional way after the manner 
of the old Byzantine mosaic workers. The limitations of the 
material have been carefully kept in view, and there has been no 
attempt made to translate into mosaic designs which would have 
been more suitable as wall paintings. On' the west wall a figure 
of St. Andrew clad in blue cloak and wliite tunic holds up his 
hands in the act of Adoration of the Cross, on which he suffered 
martyrdom and which is represented on the east wall opposite. 
On either side of the Saint are rose-bushes and trees — the olive and 
the locust — under which stand figm'cs of deer, and the greensward 
below is interspersed with blooming flowers. On the upper part 
of this west wall is set forth in simple language in the vulgar tongue, 
so that all who run may read, the main facts of the story of St. 
Andrew, as follows : 


OUR lord's first apostle. 













"The central feature on the east wall is the representation of 
St. Andrew's Cross, from which golden rays exude and over which 
hovers a wiiite dove, indicating the Divine Blessing. On either 
side are panels inscribed with the prayer of St. Andrew, which he 
uttered on seeing the Cross on which he was to suffer martyi'dom. 
This prayer comes in the office for St. Andrew's Day. It is here 
inscribed on the one side in Latin and on the other in English. 
The latter rendering is taken from the late Marquess of Bute's 
English translation of the Roman Breviary, and is as follows : 

" ' O Precious Cross, which the Members of my Lord have 
made so fair and goodly, welcome me from among men, and join 
me again to my Master, that, as by thee He redeemed me, so by 
thee also He may take me unto Himself.' 

" The lower parts of the vault are views of cities connected 
with the story of the saint. Appropriate borders of a Celtic type 
frame the pictures and appear on the faces of the east and west 
arches. The plain gold mosaic is executed in fair shaped forms 
which may be taken to signify golden clouds screening Paradise 
from earthly view. 

" A row of seven inlaid ebony stalls fill in the recess of the west 
end of the chapel. The altar candlesticks and the reliquary set 
into a niche at the base of tlie cross over the altar are in bronze 
and enamel. Altar cards have been specially engrossed and 
illuminated on vellum for this chapel. The marble work has 
been executed by the firm of Messrs. Farmer & Brindley, the metal 
screen by Mr. W. Bainbridge Reynolds, and the glazing by Messrs. 
Lowndes & Drury. Mr. Stirling Lee is responsible for the sculpture, 
Mr. Ernest Gimson for the stalls, Mr. Harold Stabler for the 
reliquary and the candlesticks, and Mr. Graily Hewitt for the altar 

" The full-size cartoons for the mosaic were prepared by Mr. 
George Jack and the mosaic work carried out by Mr. E. Debenham's 
group of mosaic workers under the personal direction of Mr. Gaetano 
Meo, the friend and assistant of Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Richmond, 
and other artists. To his intimate knowledge of the selection and 


O ]^ 

g s 





disposition of the material is due the most excellent effects of colour 
and texture which have been obtained in the work. 

" With the exception of one Italian who helped with the mosaics 
for a short time, all the workmen employed were British. The 
list of Scottish saints inscribed on the walls has been arranged by 
Father Michael Barrett, O.S.B., the compiler of the Kalcndar of 
Scottish Saints printed and issued by the Abbey of Fort Augustus." 

The Chapel of St. Paul 

This chapel and that dedicated to St. Joseph in the corre- 
sponding position on the north side vary in two important par- 
ticulars from those already examined ; and most notably in the 
apsidal termination of their east ends made possible by the 
massive brickwork of the western piers of the transepts. The 
gradine is set well back in this apse, so that only the lowest altar 
step projects beyond its radius. The second variation occurs in 
the fenestration ; the two window recesses, though of the same 
proportions as those in other chapels, each enclose three small 
fiat-topped lights (as yet only temporarily glazed) beneath the 
tympanum filled with a terracotta lattice. 

The column bearing the northern arches is a fine specimen of 
Greek cipollino ; the altar, designed by Mr. J. A. Marshall, of the 
Bentley firm, rests at present on a temporary platform of wood, 
and is constructed of second statuary marble, with mensa of 
pavonazzo. The frontal contains three coloured panels, a central 
one of the dark green marble from Tinos, flanked by two upright 
oblongs of rosso antico. A scheme of marble revetment to half- 
inch scale had been prepared and partly coloured by the deceased 

Dedicated to the great patron of converts, the cost of the chapel 
decoration was originally intended to be defrayed by the thank- 
offerings of those who have thus become members of the Catholic 
Church and a box to receive such offerings was placed in the 


Funds had come in but slowly in this way when a speedier 
means of completing the chapel presented itself in the person of 
Mrs. Samborne-Palmer, who proposed to the Cardinal in 1913 to 
make it a memorial to her parents. The marble wall linings were 
soon put in hand and the chapel was opened in the autumn 
of 1917, although the mosaics and the marble pavement are still 

The apse is lined with a pale blue-grey marble emphasized with 
narrow vertical strips of a cool pale green, their continuity being 
interrupted right and left of the altar by piscinae of buff-tinted 
stone with decorative borderings in inlays of red and white. Above 
the altar and affixed to the wall is a triptych of gilt bronze with a 
figure of St. Paul in bold relief surmounted by a panel representing 
his martyrdom. An enamelled shield bearing the arms of the 
Saint is fixed to the lower part of the triptych, on the doors of 
which is the following inscription : 


The west wall, up to the level fixed by the window-sills in the 
south wall, is covered with a scheme of marble revetment in which 
the predominant features are eight tall verde antico panels, headed 
each with a lozenge of pale green set in an oblong of deep-toned 
red, and both separated and enframed by strips and mouldings 
of pavonazzo and statuary marble. The piers up to this level 
are sheeted with cipoUino. Above this and up to the lunette, which 
is left bare for the future mosaic, we find the same blue-grey marble 
which forms the clothing of the apse, in slabs cleverly " opened 
out " to obtain the full value of their symmetrical and effective 
figuring. Below the windows the chief feature is the range of ten 
slender pavonazzo shafts with distinctive capitals which rise from 
a low seating of white marble to carry an effective arcading, 
the wall behind it being sheathed with well-marked cipollino. 
The arms of the donor in opus sectile of marble appear on the west 
wall with the dedicatory inscription : 


this chapel was given for the glory of god and 
the honour of s. paul the apostle and to be a memo- 
rial to her beloved parents, john filmer anstey 
and anna maria anstey, by their daughter caroline 
mary samborne- palmer, for whose intentions the 
holy sacrifice of the mass shall be offered daily 
in this chapel in perpetuity. 7 october, 1913. 

The South Aisle 

Paved with wood block flooring and destitute of mural decora- 
tion, the aisle strikes a sharp note of contrast to the finished per- 
fection of the Brampton chantry. The sole promise of the marble 
encrustation of the future, for which the architect has left details, 
is given by the consecration crosses of red and white marble, 
inlaid in circular plaques of Hopton Wood stone, let into the 
brickwork of the main piers, and by the marble sheeting on the 
outer piers of that chapel. But, before passing into the transept, 
we recommend the visitor to turn and look westwards along the 
aisle : he cannot fail to be impressed by the beautiful effect of 
the long vista of brick groining, formed by the interpenetration 
of the nave and chapel arcading with the longitudinal barrel vault 
which roofs the aisle. 

The South Transept 

Though Bentley left half-inch scale drawings of the major part 
of the revetment, here again all the walls are bare and unfinished ; 
but the dingy bricks accentuate the beauty of the splendid pair 
of columns of rosy Languedoc, from between which one sees 
the Lady Chapel in an effective coup d^ceil. These columns carry 
the narrow bridge of brick which forms a bond of union between 
the continuation of the triforium gallery across the transept, and 
the gallery that clings to the south wall beneath the transept 
window, and is borne on a couple of auxiliary piers, introduced 
between the primary and secondary abutments. Single confes- 


sional boxes occupy the spaces between the interior buttresses. 
Througli the arch in the main eastern pier, recessed to form 
vaulted niches on either side, we enter the Lady Chapel, to which 
the south transept serves, in fact, almost as a nave. Independent 
access to it from the outside of the building is provided by means 
of a small door at the west end of the chapel's southern aisle 
(Plate XXVIII). 

The Lady Chapel 

With a length of 70 ft., this chapel measures 21 ft. wide and 38 ft. 
high to the crown of its barrel vault, the nave bein» composed of 
three bays, open to the aisles, save for the low parapet wall of 
marble built across the openings between the piers. The north aisle 
divides the chapel from the sanctuary ; that on the south serves 
as a processional way from the sacristies. The sanctuary apse 
is triply niched or recessed, an arrangement calculated to suit the 
circular baldacchino provided in the original plan. The marble- 
work is complete and extends from the skirting to a richly moulded 
cornice of white marble at the height of the sills, from which point 
the mosaic sheathing of the brickwork will begin. The vault is 
intersected on its south side by four segmental-headed windows, 
two unpierced recesses of similar form corresponding in the opposite 
ramp. Further light is shed from the four circular windows of 
the south aisle (Plate XXVIII). 

Since no enclosing grilles or gates enter into the scheme of 
decoration, there was scope for greater elaboration of treatment 
of the piers than was advisable in the case of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment Chapel,^ where their inner faces are simply lined with white 
marble to afford contrast to the gilding and enamel work of the 
metal screens. The general lines of the marble-work are illustrated 
by the photograph (Plate XXIX). A string of white marble, 
sometimes polished, sometimes not, is carried round the chapel 
at the height of the springing of the nave arcading ; below this 

'■ The reason for departure from the original dedication of this as the Blessed 
Sacrament Cliapel has already been given. See footnote, p. 51. 


line the marbles are generally rather darker in tone than those 
employed between it and the carved cornice. 

As regards details, the great niches on either side of the en- 
trance from the transept are lined, above a skirting of grey Irish 
limestone, with alternate narrow vertical strips of pale pavonazzo 
and campan vert from the Pyrenees, a symphony in white and 
green, whose upper edges meet a border of black and white 
chevrons, at the base of the conch, lined with mosaic A white 
billet moulding outlines the entire recess and the panels of 
pavonazzo framed in a mosaic of dull red and yellow, which face 
the pier above it. Below the white string or lower cornice, these 
great piers are clothed with rosso antico. The pilasters on the 
fronts of the small piers of the nave are made of exquisitely marked 
giallo antico, the pink-flushed variety obtained from the ancient 
Roman quarries at Klaber in Algeria. 

Within the arches, the piers display fine panels of the ser- 
pentinous dark green marble from Thessaly, the verde antico 
already so abundantly employed. Four of the Klaber pilasters, 
two on each side of the nave, are further adorned on their upper 
edge with laurel wreaths in bronze gilt enclosing plaques of rosso 
antico, that porphyry-coloured marble which is the nearest that 
can be obtained to the precious porphyry of the ancients.' These 
red plaques carry the salutation ave in letters of gilt bronze, and 
are surmounted by a carved cornice of acanthus, which rises in 
segmental form concentric with the wreaths. 

The deep soffits of the nave arches are lined with white, 
inlaid with an interlacing lozenge design, carried out in gold and 
blue mosaic. Their low parapet walls are of delicately veined 
pavonazzo, panelled and moulded. The first bay contains door- 
ways of access to each aisle, lined with pavonazzo, outlined with 
billet ornament and having laurel wreaths of white marble enclosing 

* The difficulty (and consequent expense) of getting the real thing is almost in- 
surmountable, the only quarries known being situated in an arid desert in Arabia, twenty- 
three miles inland from the shores of the Red Sea. In consequence this nearly akin 
marble, rosso antico as it is called, is almost always substituted when the effect of porphyry 
is required. 


circular medallions of golden-tinted Italian breccia above their 
lintels. Three white steps lead to the higher floor level of the 
sanctuary aisles. 

Above the first string-cornice of the Lady Chapel we come to 
a band of light decoration, mainly in green and white. The 
spandrels of the arches are filled with alternate vertical strips of 
vert campan and pavonazzo ; the pier pilasters have panels of 
fine Italian purple breccia, with an inlaid frame of red and gold, 
surmounted with richly carved pediments, below which an anato- 
mized ram's head projects on either side above a depending 
swag of husk ornament. The main cornice of Carrara, with its 
acanthus ornament, will form an effective line of junction between 
the marbles and the mosaic hereafter to be applied. 

In the decoration of the apse the designer has allowed himself 
a greater wealth of colour and of rare and precious marbles. Deep 
red has a large share in the general effect beneath the lower cornice, 
the walls being covered with a variety of the ancient Greek red 
marble ; the niches behind the altar are treated in the same way 
as those of the west end, with strips of cool green and white. 
Small pavonazzo-lined doorways provide on either side of the apse 
convenient means of access for those engaged in the service of the 
altar. Rare and splendid slabs of grand antique, the bianco e nero 
of the Pyrenees, occupy the panels above these doorways, with 
broad framings formed of diamonds of red marble set among 
tesserae of gold and black. Between lower and upper cornices, 
unique specimens of pink pavonazzo from Italy are combined 
with Siena, pale-toned breccias, white marble mouldings and 
borders of rosso antico and gold mosaic, to form an opulent setting 
for altar and reredos. 

The gradine, against which the white marble altar is placed, 
projects boldly from the curved wall of the apse and supports a 
reredos of the same material that rises up to the main cornice. 
This carved frame, enclosing a mosaic representation of the 
Blessed Virgin and Child, is richly inlaid with a mosaic of gold, 
lapis-lazuli, and pearl. Below the frame stretches a slab of dark 


purple-veined Siena, having an oval of campan vert set in it 
centrewise ; campan vert forms the retable, while another and 
clearer tone of green is to be found in the frontal, where a fine 
slab of Greek cipoUino is framed in white, and enriched with two 
rosso antico enwreathed medallions, displaying the Holy Mother's 
monogram in letters of gilt bronze. The frontal Bentley had 
in mind for the altar was not in the least like this ; his was to 
be inlaid with adoring seraphim, carried out in opus sectile, 
probably, and it would have been a very beautiful and imagi- 
native production. 

The predella is of Siena and grey Greek marble ; while the 
flooring of the sanctuary combines verde antico, red Languedoc, 
Belgian black, pavonazzo and second statuary, and is raised by 
two steps above the nave floor. This level, again, is interrupted 
by a single step occurring between the first and second bays ; the 
whole being covered at present with wood block flooring, with the 
exception of the pier recesses, where it is replaced by a white 
marble pavement inset with bay-leaf wreaths in dark and light 
green marbles. 

Although over four years have elapsed since the marble-work 
was finished, but little achievement can be recorded in regard to 
the mosaic decoration, indeed at present only the altarpiece and 
the lining of the apse recesses are completed. These were executed 
from Mr. Anning Bell's designs by Miss Martin, a lady who at 
one time was one of Mr. Bridge's assistants, and who had gained 
her experience in the work in the chapels of the Holy Souls and 
St. Gregory and St. Augustine. 

Mr. Anning Bell's reredos panel is well under the Byzantine 
spell in drawing and treatment ; indeed the figures of the Mother 
and Child are slightly reminiscent of the famous ancient picture 
(attributed by some to St. Luke) in the Redemptorist Church of St. 
Augustine in Rome. The Blessed Virgin, in veil and robe of blue 
and white, beneath a green mantle, its folds accentuated by lines 
of gold, stands facing the spectator, the Holy Child seated erect 
and supported on her right arm. He is clad in a white robe, and 


looks out of the picture with His right hand raised in benediction. 
A crossed nimbus of red and gold encircles His head ; that of the 
Mother is closely draped, and has a golden nimbus, with the 
symbols MP and ©V on circular plaques of gold on the back- 
ground to right and left. The blue background is diapered 
with a slight arcading in white — each tiny arch enclosing a white 
cross. The conches of the apse niches and of those flanking 
the entrance from the south transept are covered Avith foliated 
arabesques in light tones of green, lavender, and white on a light 
blue ground, encirchng the heads of the prophets Isaias, Ezechiel, 
Daniel, and Jeremias. 

The idea of making the Immaculate Conception the subject 
for the altarpiece was at one time entertained, though Bentley's 
own intention to have the Annunciation, with St. Anne and St. 
Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin, on either side and under- 
neath, treated as three smaller pictures — the Presentation of our 
Lady in the Temple, the Nativity, and the Salutation of St. Eliza- 
beth—was embodied in the verbal outline of an elaborate scheme 
for the mosaics and opus sectile in this chapel prepared by him 
as far back as 1899. It was published first anonymously in the 
February Cathedral Record, and subsequently reprinted with an 
illustrative diagram in the supplement to the Tablet of December 
29th, 1900. Since it is reprinted in extenso on page 243 it 
will suffice to remark here that Bentley confined the historical 
treatment of his subject to the altarpiece, and elaborated its 
symbolic and mystical aspect in the major portion of the surfaces 
at his disposal for pictorial effects. 

The artificial lighting of the Lady Chapel is, as far as the nave 
is concerned, provided by rough temporary electric pendants, sus- 
pended from cantilevers fixed above the upper cornice. But the 
sanctuary has recently been endowed with a pair of pendants of 
silvered copper, depending from bronze cantilevers. They take 
the form of a deep corona repouss^ and pierced with lozenge 
detail, suspended by four finely devised chains from a horizontal 
many-pointed star. From medallions pierced with a fleur de lys 


and attached to the corona hang four electric lamps ; a fifth, 
depending from the centre of the chandelier, is attached to a larger 
oval medallion pierced with the monogram of the Blessed Virgin. 
These effective pendants, designed by the Bentley firm, add con- 
siderably to the effect of the chapel decorations. 

The silver crucifix and six altar candlesticks, whose designs 
were from the same source, were presented by a generous bene- 
factor in 1910. They are appropriately enriched with lapis-lazuli, 
the cross, 3 ft. 4| in. high, bearing on its base the following 
inscription : 



When Cardinal Vaughan faced the problem of cathedral 
building left for solution by his predecessor, he discovered that a. 
substantial sum, bequeathed for the erection and decoration of a 
chapel in the future cathedral, had been steadily accumulating in 
value since 1871, when the death of the testatrix, Baroness Weld, 
took place. The original sum, £11,333, left by her in memory of 
her son, had in fact almost doubled in the thirty-five years that 
had elapsed before it could be applied to its intended purpose. 
The Lady Chapel being, with the exception of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment Chapel (already otherwise provided for), the most costly 
to complete. Cardinal Vaughan very early decided to allocate 
thereto Baroness Weld's great bequest; but owing, among other 
reasons, to pressure of work earlier taken in hand, it was not until 
1907 that the contracts to carry out the designs prepared by 
Mr. Marshall were signed. Just after Easter 1908, the fixing of 
the marble-work was begun, and hastened to completion in less 
than six months, to be unveiled for the great Eucharistic Congress 
held in London in the September of that year. 

This chapel was the earliest portion of the cathedral opened for 


divine worship ; here, on Lady Day 1903, the first mass ' was cele- 
brated, and thereafter, until the opening of the whole building, 
it continued, roughly enclosed with screens of canvas, in daily 
occupation as the parish church. The old parish church of St. 
Mary in Horseferry Road, served by the Jesuits, was then given 
up and closed. 

The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament 

Retracing his steps to the south transept and thence across the 
nave, the visitor will next proceed to the chapel of the Blessed 
Sacrament, which though in general dimensions and plan the replica 
of its sister-chapel, possesses certain divergences, one of which 
has been already mentioned. We refer to the triple broaching 
of the apse of the Lady Chapel, designed, when the Blessed Sacra- 
ment Chapel was to occupy the south-east position, to accom- 
modate a baldacchino of dignity and importance. A second 
structural difference occurs in the fenestration, the vault of the 
apse here being pierced by a couple of segmental-headed windows, 
providing a much-needed increase of illumination when we con- 
sider the amount of light screened away laterally by the tall 
flats of Ashley Place. Furthermore this chapel is enclosed as of 
custom by grilles and gates, shutting it off as a Holy of Holies from 
the transept, which serves it as nave, and from the narrow aisles, 
the northern of which is the chapel or Shrine of the Sacred Heart ; 
both aisles have pavonazzo-lined arched openings into the chapel 
westward of the enclosing screen. The chapel is completed as far 
as its marble and metal work are concerned ; the scheme of mosaic 
decoration remains as yet concealed in the unknown future, al- 
though there is probably sufficient money in hand for its realization. 

The aim achieved in the marble decoration is extreme lightness 
of tone (for the reason above noted), the marbles being combined 
in a style comparatively simple and severe when contrasted with 

' A mass had been celebrated at an earlier date in the cathedral precincts, namely 
that sung on Ascension Day 1902, with great pomp and solemnity in the chapter hall 
wliich served as a chapel until December 1903. 


the opulent variety of those which gleam upon the Lady Chapel 
walls. The reason for this comparative plainness is not far to 
seek, and lies in the splendour and elaboration of the metal 
screens with their wealth of gilding and enamel, which in the 
interest of refinement demand a simpler setting (Plate XXX). 

The marble sheeting begins at the niched eastern piers of the 
transept, whose recesses are outlined with white billet mouldings 
and lined with vertical alternate strips of pavonazzo and verde 
antico up to the springing of the conch (still wanting its mosaic 
lining), where they are headed with a black and white chevron 
banding. The pier above the recess is faced with three panels 
of pavonazzo, bordered with Siena inlays. A white string or 
simple cornice is carried round the chapel at the height of the 
springing of the arcading ; below it the pier faces are covered 
with an effective horizontal arrangement of " opened-out " rose de 
Numidie slabs (deep yellow with a pink flush) divided by narrow 
bands of greyish campan vert. The inner sides of the piers and 
the soffits of the arches are lined with very lightly marked pavon- 
azzo, which also fills the square-headed openings to right and 
left of the sanctuary, their jambs outlined with a billet moulding 
of the white marble, while the panel above the lintel is adorned 
with an interlacing design in black and gold mosaic. The opening 
on the north side of the apse contains an aumbrey for holy oils, 
its door of copper having a central panel of repousse brass. The 
corresponding opening on the south provides the means of access 
to the sanctuary from the aisle, and is closed by a simply moulded 
teak door. 

To right and left of the altar the continuity of the Numid- 
ian marble banding is yet again interrupted by a pair of 3-ft. 
breadths of pavonazzo, framed with billet mouldings, that on the 
Epistle side being recessed to contain the credence and piscina of 
white marble. The conch of this recess is lined with overlapping 
vine leaves and tendrils, carved in unpolished Carrara in very 
low relief. Behind the altar three upright panels of Siena form a 
species of r credos rising from the topmost step of the double 


flight behind it to the line of the upper cornice. These slabs are 
" opened out " and flanked by bands of white marble broken 
with a pattern in verde antico oblongs edged and connected with 
fine lines of gold mosaic. 

Above the white marble string the decoration assumes a 
vertical arrangement in both nave and sanctuary. In the former, 
the pier pilasters are surmounted by entablatures of pavonazzo, 
with verde antico panels, the intervening wall spaces showing 
vertical strips of campan vert and rose de Numidie, In the 
sanctuary similar strips of campan vert alternate with those of 
pale pavonazzo, except above the recesses and doorway already de- 
scribed, which are headed with splendid panels of breccia, mingling 
purple, grey, and white, enclosed within a mosaic band of lapis 
and pearl and framed in the billet moulding that occurs below. 

The simply conceived altar of Siena, cipollino, and Carrara is 
approached by three steps of white marble ; frontal and mensa 
are composed of fine golden-yellow Siena, displaying a somewhat 
strong " figure " ; while of verde antico are the inlays in the 
retable, bordered with a single row of golden tesserae. The white 
marble dossal which rises to the extent of 2 ft. above the cipollino 
gradine contains a splendid panel of this light green marble 
with the usual golden edging. 

A flat wooden canopy or celatura, of hexagonal form, is sus- 
pended above the altar by means of a massive chain and pierced 
bulb of silvered bronze. One is constrained to regret the pro- 
nouncedly " Roman " type of this canopy, wliich takes the place 
of the circular baldacchino with six columns conceived by John 
Bentley, which, as already indicated, had been rendered wholly 
impracticable by the altered conditions. Cardinal Vaughan 
having decided, for reasons sufficiently good though unhappily 
somewhat tardily recognized, to reverse the dedication of the two 
eastern chapels, Bentley was forced to concur, though the change 
necessitated, in his opinion, the abandonment of this important 
part of the design. His untimely death prevented the planning 
of another form of canopy. 


Mr. Marshall has thrown further light on the Cardinal's views 
and motives. " The difficulty of accommodating the baldacchino 
in the apse that was not designed for it did not influence the 
Cardinal in his decision to abandon it altogether, though it might 
very well have done so. Apart from this incompatibility, he very 
strongly objected to the idea of a baldacchino on columns in addi- 
tion to that over the high altar of the sanctuary, A chapel had 
been specially set apart for the Holy Eucharist, and the Cardinal 
preferred that it alone should be the shrine enclosed by grilles and 
gates, and with a simple canopy suspended over the altar. When 
the present Archbishop succeeded his Eminence, there was some 
idea of reverting to Mr. Bentley's original intention, but it was 
found that the work of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel was so far 
advanced that any further change would have been beset by 
many serious difficulties." ' 

Mr. Marshall was therefore requested to design a canopy for 
suspension, the design submitted being duly carried out. Hexa- 
gonal in plan, it is made of wood painted and gilt with a fine 
silvery tint of gold. The upper member of the border moulding 
is carved at intervals with acanthus leaves in low relief ; on the 
lower portion an interlacing bead forms a series of oblong hexa- 
gonal panels. Winged heads of cherubim look down from each 
of the six corners of the canopy. Depending from the lowest 
moulding is a species of carved " fringe " composed of small 
shields painted with a white cross on an azure ground, alternating 
with short strings of golden beads ; these, at the angles beneath the 
cherubim, carry each a golden cross. The flat ceiling of the 
canopy is broken by gilt bead-and-reel mouldings into lozenge- 
shaped panels, coloured red and enclosing a smaller lozenge carved 
in relief and tinctured in blue and gold. 

The tabernacle thus canopied is also from Mr. Marshall's design, 
and is 4 ft. 6 in. in height from its base to the top of the finial 
surmounting the dome, and 24 in. in diameter. It is circular in 
plan, and wrought in silver gilt, inlaid with precious stones and 

1 Westminster Cathedral Chronicle, January 1908. 


further enriched with repousse work. Above the double doors is a 
repousse plaque, enclosed in a wreath, on which are represented 
the chalice and the sacred host with the words of consecration : 


beaten design which fills the panels of each door, the hanging 
grape clusters are formed alternately of chrysoprases and ame- 
thysts. A figure of the Divine Pelican with wings outstretched 
broods over the dome. 

The decorated exterior encloses a cylindrical steel safe, lined 
with cedar of Lebanon and white silk, and strongly secured to the 
altar. These silken curtains are suspended by means of a number 
of gold wedding rings, each inscribed with the name of its donor. 
To a benefactress of the cathedral is due this pious and charming 
idea ; having set herself the task of collecting gold rings for the 
tabernacle curtains, she persuaded certain of her relatives and 
women friends to leave their wedding rings to be used for this 
purpose. The required number of golden circlets, thus bequeathed 
and hallowed, was completed in 1909. 

The effective altar crucifix and candlesticks, the gift of another 
benefactress in that year, are of a primitive Byzantine type, 
massive and solid, and carried out in bronze mercurial-gilt, set 
with natural stones. The hemispherical base, adorned with pierced 
decoration, is supported by three plain feet. The lower half of 
the shaft is set with three circles of light red stones ; the knop 
being elaborately chased in a design of vine leaves and fruit ; a 
curvilinear beading encircles the upper portion of the shaft, which 
terminates in spreading acanthus leaves carrying the bowl. The 
crucifix is double-armed, and reproduces the general details of the 

Behind the tabernacle the throne rests at present on a tem- 
porary wooden staging, erected at the back of the altar. It is 
likewise of wood, and takes the form of a simple circular plateau, 
borne by two kneeling angels with upcurving wings; the whole 
is plainly gilt. 

The floor of the sanctuary is a harmony of rose and green, 

^. '''\! ,iyj^\Lyk % ¥^ f v;^s:^^ 


■r--^-^ ^ 

f 4 ' 


Plate XXV. — Original Drawing for Sculptured Capital between Side Chapels and 



Plate XXVI. — Chapel of SS. Uregory and Augustine; the Brampton Chantky. 



squares of fair Greek cipollino being combined with pointed ovals 
of the marble from Languedoc, in a setting of white. That of the 
nave (within the gates) displays the dark green of Thessaly, the 
paler tones of Varallo and cipollino, with the gold of Siena and 
the pink of Languedoc. The flooring of the space that extends 
from the gates to the first transeptal piers is laid with great 
hexagonal slabs of bleu fleuri, bordered with a bead and reel in 
black and white inlay, and interspaced with Carrara, which also 
forms the single step on which the gates are mounted. 

All the metalwork in this chapel was designed by Mr, Marshall. 
Beyond that already mentioned, we have yet to notice the central 
screen and gates, the lateral grilles, the altar rail, and the devices for 
artificial lighting. The drawings for the gates and grilles, made 
very shortly after Bentley's death, were approved by Cardinal 
Vaughan, and the execution begun in his lifetime. Their material 
is bronze, cast and chased, and enriched with much delicate orna- 
ment in gilding and blue and white enamel. The design, based on 
Roman detail, is strongly suggestive of Pompeian work, and un- 
avoidably, therefore, reminiscent of the classic art adopted and 
modified a hundred years ago by the artists of the First Empire. 
How far a design thus inspired is suitable to the cathedral is a 
question that cannot with profit be discussed now ; though, in spite 
of the Divine Pelican crowning the central arch, one cannot help 
feeling that the composition is animated with a sensuous gaiety 
remote from the spirit of an Early Christian church, and more 
akin to the triumphal arch of a Roman holiday. This is not in 
any way to deny the inherent beauties of the design, nor the super- 
excellence of the workmanship (Plate XXX). 

The screen is composed of two corniced wings, with a gateway, 
arched and recessed, in the middle. On the summit of this arched 
gateway stands the symbolic pelican, gilt and chased. The soffit 
of the arch is enriched with a design in blue and white enamel, 
continued along the frieze of the wings. These wings, it will be 
seen, are composed of a lower latticed portion containing three 
panels interspaced by four fluted pilasters, which are continued 


upwards to the cornice by slender shafts of bronze, delicately en- 
twined with golden foliage and linked, beneath their more elaborate 
terminal chasing and moulding, by three swags of golden laurel 
leaves. Between the shafts are spaced two slender rods of bronze, 
strung with bead-like enamelled bosses at regular intervals. Each 
gate, its top arched above a circular laurel wreath, with depending 
ribbons, is composed of gilt balusters associated Avith moulded up- 
right and cross supports. Rosettes of blue and white enamel 
powder the stout supports of the gates. Grilles of similar design 
occupy the arched openings on either side of the chapel, from the 
coping of their low marble walls to the level of the springing. 

The screen alone took three and a half years to make, at a cost 
of £2,350 ; the grilles being subsequently finished by June 1907, 
at an additional cost of about £1,500, by Messrs. J. W. Singer of 
Frome, who were responsible for all the decorative metalwork 
in this chapel. 

The communion rail, also in Roman classical style and of cast 
bronze, chased and gilt, is fixed on the upper of the two steps of the 
sanctuary. The rail proper, to ensure durability, was treated with 
the costly process of fire gilding, the remainder being electro-gilt. 
Suspended between the fluted railings, on their outer side, are 
eight oval wreaths, enclosing enamel plaques, on six of which 
are depicted the instruments of the Passion, in white enamel on 
a red ground. The two end plaques contain the symbols Alpha 
and Omega. 

The three silver lamps of the sanctuary depend from a bar of 
silvered bronze by chains of wrought metal, strung with small 
enamel lozenges in blue and yellow and globes and pendants of 
carved rock crystal. Similar crystal drops form a fringe along 
the bar. Enriched with dark blue and apple-green enamels and 
set with onyx and crystal are the hexagonal silver lamps, of which 
the two outer hang considerably lower than the central one. 

The six electric light pendants are carried out in a lozenge 
form in bronze gilt pierced and enamelled, and display on the 
obverse the Alpha and Omega in two of the four enamelled com- 


partments into which their flat surfaces are divided. On the 
reverse side the enamel plaques show a red diamond surrounded 
by one of white, and again by one of blue. Each pendant, hung 
from a cantilever above the upper cornice, bears five electric lights, 
suspended from and between the three lower angles of the lozenge, 
the bottom one being attached to a cross. 

This brief account of the Shrine of Shrines in the cathedral 
would be incomplete were we to omit the rather interesting 
chronicle of the manner in which the funds for its decoration were 
obtained. Father Kenelm Vaughan, a younger brother of the 
Cardinal Founder, a man of ascetic and humble life, imbued with 
intense devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, begged 
and obtained permission, under the impulse of this devotion, to 
collect money for the building and adornment of a chapel of expia- 
tion and adoration in the new cathedral. His life thenceforth was 
devoted with fine singleness of purpose to this chosen task. To 
Spain, a land of historic faith and devotion akin to his own, and 
to the Spanish-speaking races of South America, he resolved 
alone to make his appeal, and something in the fashion of a 
pilgrim of old, with the blessing of his superiors he left England 
in 1896. 

During eleven long years, undaunted by hardship and fatigue, 
he pursued with unfaltering zeal the self-set labour, begging his 
way from door to door and from town to town. Two years 
were spent profitably in Spain, where the subscription list, headed 
by such august names as those of his Most Catholic Majesty 
Alfonso XIII and the Queen Mother Maria Cristina among the 
Fundadores del Sagrario (as contributors of £50 and over were 
entitled), soon reached £4,000. On the beginning of hostilities 
between Spain and the United States in 1898, Father Vaughan 
sailed for South America, where in the ensuing nine years he 
brought up the net total of his collection to £18,634. 

The decoration of the chapel being entered upon in 1904, its 
marbles, altar, canopy and most of the metalwork were completed 
by 1908, so that on his return to England Father Kenelm had the 


happiness of seeing, in a great measure, the realisation of his dream. 
He died on May 19th, 1909, nearly six years after liis brother the 
Cardinal and two after his return from South America. His 
greatest desire was that perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment and special services all the year through should take place 
in the chapel ; but though the money he had collected was ample 
for material requirements, it was insufficient to provide endowment 
for these spiritual ideals. About £3,750 of the above sum yet 
unspent is set aside for the mosaics of the vaulting and apse, 
which, it was said, are to be put in hand as soon as those in the 
Lady Chapel are completed. 

The Shrine of the Sacred Heart and St. Michael 

This shrine, occupying the north aisle of the chapel just de- 
scribed, is very narrow in proportion to its length, and terminates 
eastward in a small apse, whose effect is unfortunately almost 
destroyed by the disproportionate scale of the statue placed above 
the altar. The lighting is by means of three circular windows 
in the north wall, and the general effect of the marble wall lining, 
which on this side ceases about 2 ft. below these openings, is 
green and white. Here we have a dado of openednaut vertical 
slabs of cipoUino, headed by two bands of equal width of Irish 
fossil and pavonazzo. This banding is repeated beneath the 
simple Carrara cornice, the intervening wall space showing, cen- 
trally between the piers, a light breccia panel within a larger one 
of verde antico, alike edged with narrow white mouldings and 
alternating with plain slabs of cipollino. 

On the south side the arcading of the Blessed Sacrament 
Chapel, with its enclosing grilles, has pier pilasters of verde antico 
up to the height of the string already mentioned ; surmounted 
with an entablature of pavonazzo, which, moulded and relieved 
by the introduction of diamonds of rosso antico, carries the eye 
up to the springing of the arcading, where the mosaic of the vault 
begins. This note of red, to be emphasized so strongly in the 


mosaics, is repeated in the altar slab of Cork marble ; the frontal 
has a central panel of second statuary, carved in bas-relief with 
a representation of St. Michael and the Dragon, flanked by panels 
of strongly figured cipollino, the whole enclosed in a broad pavon- 
azzo framing. The retable carries a pedestal of campan vert on 
which stands the conventional life-size statue of the Sacred Heart 
carved in white marble. 

The recess behind the statue is lined with vertical strips of 
choice black of Pandemia, an extremely rare marble, the small 
quantity of which here introduced was brought from Asia Minor 
by the Farmer & Brindley firm over forty years ago. Alternate 
strips of pavonazzo redeem the space thus treated from the fault 
of excessive contrast, and terminate in a simply moulded cornice 
beneath the mosaics of the apse vault. To right and left of the 
statue at about elbow height, circular medallions of red Languedoc, 
enframed in white mouldings, are applied to the wall to break 
the monotony of the vertical treatment. 

The areas requiring mosaic treatment were the four com- 
partments of the cross vaulted roof, the lunette of the west end, 
the vault of the apse, and the upper part of the north wall above 
the marble dado. On account of the small vaults and broken 
wall spaces, it was deemed advisable to avoid subjects in tiie 
mosaic, certain conventional designs including symbolic hearts, 
foliation and geometrical figures being chosen instead and 
repeated in the general colour scheme of red and gold, relieved 
with a little green and white. An exception occurs at the west 
end, where, in this small tympanum, the eye is arrested by an im- 
pressive and majestic presentment of the Holy Face, gazing out 
upon the world from a ground of plain gold mosaic. This portion 
of the mosaic, the last work of the late W. Christian Symons, 
completed shortly before his lamented death in 1911, was due 
to the generosity of Mrs. Evelyn Murray. 

The marble work, begun early in 1910 with funds provided by 
old pupils of the Sacred Heart convents, was finished by the June 
of that year. The nuns of the same order gave the alabaster 


statue of the Sacred Heart, already mentioned, which was carved 
in the studios of Messrs. Farmer & Brindley. 

The electric light pendants in this chapel bear a close relation- 
ship in form to certain of the ancient lamps (light crosses) in the 
church of Santa Sophia at Constantinople, described in Messrs. 
Lethaby and Swainson's book in quotations from the Silentiary's 
account of its wondrous treasxu-es. In the Westminster shrine 
two silvered bronze beams, with hammered ornament, are thrown 
across the chapel, above the cornice level, from each of which 
hang a pair of cruciform pendants of the same metal with three 
electric lights swinging from arms and foot of the cross. The 
silver lamp before the statue is suspended from the vault and is 
less severely Byzantine in character. It was the gift of Sir Charles 
Paston-Cooper, Bt., and was designed by Mr. Osmond Bentley 
and Mr. Marshall ; the latter also was the designer of the electric 
light pendants. 

Chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury 

The narrow chapel thus dedicated in the north transept, and 
wholly enclosed by grilles of gilt bronze, is Cardinal Vaughan's 
chantry (Plate XXXI). Here naturally is raised the monument 
to the Cardinal Founder, although by his own desire his body 
rests, not within the walls of this culminating achievement of his 
career, but in the garden of the Missionary College at Mill Hill, into 
whose foundations the best years of his life were built. In the 
chantry chapel at Westminster the recumbent effigy ' of pure 
white Pentelic faces the altar, the head reposing on a pair of 
tasselled cushions. Clad in rochet and mozetta, with the hands 
joined in prayer, the body is more slender than the great man 
was in life, and inexpressive of his majestic and dignified carriage. 
The Cardinal's hat rests across it between knees and feet, its 
tassels falhng down on either side to the lower edge of the white 

* Designed by Mr. J. A. Marshall and carved by Henry McCarthy, a sculptor who 
had worked for Bentley during many years. 


marble sarcophagus, which is inscribed with this strikingly simple 
epitaph : 

BORN APRIL 15, 1832 ; DIED JUNE 19, 1903. R.I.P. 

The base of the tomb, with circular projections at the four 
corners to receive candlesticks, is of verde antico and rests on a 
platform of red Greek marble, the surrounding floor being com- 
posed of green and black marble inlaid in white. 

The chapel is entered through an arcading carried on a central 
pier and on two columns of the precious black and white breccia 
known as grand antique- This pier and the lateral ones are alike 
sheeted with porphyry-coloured rosso, while above the former a 
white marble tablet displays the carved and tinctured arms of the 
Cardinal Founder. The very characteristic capitals (of Bentley's 
designing) with their highly developed dosserets, and the sofRts 
and carved face mouldings of the arches, are in white statuary 
marble. The inner sides of the piers have verde antico pilasters. 

Interiorly the chapel is clothed with marble to the level of the 
window-sills, where in a pair of arched openings four rectangular 
lights filled with greenish tinted glazing in decorative leading 
are set side by side. This marble dado, consisting of broad 
slabs of heavily marked pavonazzo emphasized with narrow 
vertical divisions of verde antico, is continuous round the three 
sides of the chapel ; with the exception of the pier facings of 
porphyry-coloured rosso. The altar, without retable, is of verde 
antico, its wreath-adorned frontal being carved out of solid blocks 
4 in. thick. The floor surrounding the altar repeats, as regards 
the diamonds of Irish green on a white ground, the detail of that 
in the tomb bay ; but its central panel introduces, in a more in- 
tricate design, a variety of marbles, dark green, red, yellow, black 
and white. 


The screens enclosing the chantry were the gift of the clergy 
of England and Wales.' Extending from the floor to the lower 
member of the capitals, they consist of a series of slender balus- 
ters supporting a frieze, and bearing the late Cardinal's initials, 
H. v., and a mitre beneath a patriarchal cross, in a lozenge applied 
to the superior part of each arcade. These scrolls and the frieze 
are hand wrought, the remainder being cast. The material is 
solid bronze, gilt throughout, and richly chased. 

The four massive candlesticks of cast bronze, for the base of 
the tomb, the gift of the Dowager Duchess of Newcastle, were 
designed by the Bentley firm, who also produced the altar crucifix 
of bronze inlaid with silver, with its antique ivory figure. Above 
the head of Christ, a hand, holding a wreath which surrounds a dove, 
descends from the scroll of superscription. This crucifix, the gift 
of Lady Alice Fitzwilliam, was made by the Bromsgrove Guild of 
Metal Workers. 

The suggestion that the decoration by the Catholic clergy of 
England of a chapel in Westminster Cathedral to be dedicated 
to St. Thomas of Canterbury would be a fitting testimony of 
their gratitude to the martyred defender of the Church's liberties, 
emanated in November 1900 from the Right Rev. Francis Bourne, 
then Bishop of Southwark (now Cardinal Archbishop of West- 
minster). The idea finding ready acceptance, funds continued to 
accumulate till the summer of 1907, when it was decided to begin 
the marble wall lining. Very shortly after Cardinal Vaughan's 
death this chapel was set apart as his chantry, and on June 19th, 
1907, the fourth anniversary of his death, this marble effigy was 
solemnly unveiled by his successor in the see of Westminster. 

It was Monsignor Thomas Dunn, now Bishop of Nottingham, 
then a Canon of Westminster, and for several years secretary and 
chaplain to the late Cardinal, who collected the moneys for his 
monument, and also opened a fund for a diurnal chantry mass. 
By this arrangement the sum of £10 secures one annual mass in 
perpetuity. The tomb cost £640, while close on £350 was ex- 

' They were luade by Messrs. Singer & Co. of Frome, from Mr. Marshall's desigas. 


pended on the marble altar and dado and £825 on the grilles. It 
remains to complete the work by adding the mosaic sheathing 
to walls and vaults. A scheme of decoration which includes, 
we understand, a representation of the Adoration of the Magi in 
the tympanum of the west end was prepared in 1907 and has 
received the approbation of authority. 

That Bentley left nothing in the way of detail for the decora- 
tion of the chapel of St. Thomas is doubtless to be attributed 
to his knowledge of Cardinal Vaughan's intentions regarding it 
in the year 1900. The Cardinal, in his anxiety to accelerate the 
completion of the Cathedral, seems to have conceived the idea 
that Bentley was willing to receive help with certain decorative 
schemes. It is true that Bentley had never intended to undertake 
unaided all the mosaic work, but wished and, with the Cardinal's 
sanction, invited others to co-operate. But there can be little 
doubt that he was determined to retain in his own hands all the 
designs for the marble-work. Under this misapprehension, for 
such we must suppose it to have been on the Cardinal's part, 
Mr. Thomas Garner was invited to undertake the marble decora- 
tion of St. Thomas's Chapel. 

This architect, who died in 1906, was for a long period' in 
distinguished partnership with the late G. F. Bodley, R.A., and 
together they produced ecclesiastical architecture of a high order 
over the length and breadth of England. The former, though 
personally unknown to Bentley, was a friend of Vaughan's, and 
as a co-religionist was likely to be favourably received in the 
ranks of aspirants to the honour of sharing in the decoration 
of the new cathedral. On receiving the Cardinal's invitation, Mr. 
Garner very properly communicated with the architect as follows : 

"The Manor House, 

" Fritwell, Oxon. 
''October 21th, 1900. 

*' Dear Mr. Bentley, 

" The Cardinal has asked me to undertake the decoration 
of the chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury in the new cathedral, 

» 1869-1897. 


and says that you are pleased that he should do so. If this is your 
wish I should much like to call on you and talk the matter over, 
for I should not like to do anything you would disapprove of. I 
know how very kindly you have spoken of mc, and I should have 
written to thank you, but I understood that Monsignor Barry was 
going to arrange an interview between us, and as I heard no more, 
I concluded that you did not feel up to it at present.' If this is 
still the case I will, of course, wait your convenience, but I do feel 
that we ought to know each other, and I assure you that no one is 
a warmer admirer of your abilities than myself. I am so glad to 
hear that you are better. 

" Yours very truly, 

" Thomas Garner." 

The reply, tiiough somewhat delayed, was evidently kindly 
and encouraging, for Mr. Garner wrote again : 

" Thb Manor House, 

"Fbitwell, Oxon. 
"November Sth, 1900. 

" Dear Mr. Bentley, 

" Thank you for your kind letter, which I was glad to get, 
as I feared my letter had vexed you. I will try to call at John 
Street next week, and give you due notice. I am very sorry to 
hear you have had trouble.' With kind regards. 

" Yours in haste, 

" Thomas Garner." 

Garner eventually proceeded to make the drawings for the 
chapel of his name saint, but the designs were never accepted, 
and as we have seen, the work reverted to the Bentley firm, which 
was requested to undertake it four or five years after the archi- 
tect's death. 

' Ho had been ill for many weeks since his second paralytic seizure in the summer of 
that year. 

• One of Bentley's daughters had been severely burned at the end of October and for 

a long time wiw not expuctod to ncovor. 


The North Transept 

A single central column of vcrde antico carries the bridge-like 
gallery, thrown, as in the south transept (though this has two 
columns), across the opening in the main pier, to link the gallery 
of the crossing with that above the porch and the Vaughan 
chantry. The architect's designs for the marble-work, drawn to 
i-inch scale, include the walling over the latter. He left, more- 
over, full-size details for the completion of the doorway from the 
transept to the porch. The lobby of this porch is domically 
vaulted and is projected 6 ft. into the transept, its entrance 
being closed by swing doors of teak, enriched with bronze grilles 
and applied ornament. The lobby lighting is effected by a pair 
of small level-topped windows in twin arched recesses of the 
north wall. The entrance from Ambrosden Avenue involves an 
ascent of four steps to the interior of the porch, which receives 
some light from the cathedral through an opening of small pro- 
portions filled with a gilt and glazed grille (Plate XVII). 

There is an ascent of three steps again from the lobby to the 
transept, within which, above the window just mentioned, is a 
mosaic panel representing Blessed Joan of Arc. The holy warrior 
maiden, a simple yet majestic figure clad in shining mail from 
shoulders to feet, stands facing the spectator, bearing in her left 
hand a long sword, and wearing a flowing cope-like mantle of white. 
Her right hand proudly upholds the lilied Oriflamme of France. 
The panel measures 3 ft. by 7 ft. 6 in., its design being almost the 
last work from the hand of the late W. Christian Symons, and was 
carried out by Mr. George Bridge. The white marble frame, 
surrounded M'ith a mural revetment of very pale cipollino, is footed 
with a projecting ledge intended for flower vases. 

The cost of the panel and its frame was £325, raised by means 
of a penny collection among the women and girls of England, 
organised by the Catholic Women's League in May 1909, and 
inspired by the idea that such an expression of reparation 
should fittingly come from the women of the nation which five 


centuries ago had sent this inspired and holy woman to a cruel 
and shameful death. 

The Chapels of the North Aisle 

Bentley contributed to the Tablet of May 13th, 1899, an illus- 
trated scheme for the decoration of one of the chapels of the north 
aisle. The chapels had not, at that time, all been allotted their 
dedications, so that he has perforce left the patron saint un- 
named. In the hope that we shall some day see the fulfilment of 
his idea, we reproduce the scheme; though unfortunately none 
of the partially completed altars corresponds in the slightest 
with the one he describes. 

" Framework and slab of altar in onyx ; gradine, side jambs, 
and plinths of columns in cipollino ; columns in verde antico. 
On the frontal of opus sectile will be painted seraphs between 
golden stars enclosed in a border of inlaid pearl and lapis-lazuli. 
Above the gradine will be a dossal of verde antico, surmounted by 
a reredos enriched with panels filled with figures of saints, executed 
in opus sectile. White Pentelic marble will be used for the caps 
which support an entablature of pavonazzo, carrying a tester of 
wood richly carved and gilt. In the tympanum of the recess 
would be placed one of the principal incidents from the saint's 
life, and on the soffit of the arch demi-figures associated with him 
either mystically or historically. 

" The vault forming the ceiling will be covered with silver 
mosaic, glazed with golden-green and enriched with wreaths of 
green and gold. The angels are to carry plaques inscribed with 
memorials of the donors. A marble dado under the windows is 
to consist of cipollino marble slabs, rich in colour and markings, 
divided by strips of inlay, while the floor is to be paved with marble 
of various colourings in large forms divided into patterns by 
mosaics of small tesserae. The windows will be glazed with Vene- 
tian roundels of toned white glass." 


The Chapel of St. Joseph 

This chapel is on plan similar in all respects to that dedi- 
cated to St. Paul on the south side, and calls for little remark for 
the reason that it has at present no equipment beyond an altar of 
fair marbles designed by the Bentley firm. Its Siena frontal, 
bordered with an inlaid band of lapis-lazuli and gold mosaic, 
is centrally inset with a wavy lozenge of choice Irish green marble 
with borders of inlaid lapis and pearl. The mensa is a fine slab 
of pavonazzo ; the simple retablc is of bronze ; and the altar will 
hereafter be completed by a reredos of opus sectile rising within 
the curve of the apse. 

Very little money had been subscribed for the decoration 
of this chapel, probably because for some time it was understood 
to be the gift and the chantry of the Weld-Blundells, one of the 
old Catholic families. Indeed Cardinal Vaughan in the Cathedral 
Record of February 1899 (No. 7) made definite announcement of 
this interesting fact. The intention, it is to be presumed, came to 
naught, for subsequently the Catholic laity were asked to con- 
tribute the sum of £6,000, which, it was computed, will cover the 
cost of the marbles, the mosaic work, the opus sectile, and the 
bronze screen required to complete the chapel. However, part of 
the need to press for public subscriptions was relieved in 1913 
when Mrs. Claude Watney undertook to be responsible for all 
the marble-work at an estimated cost of £2,615. Bentley has 
left designs, partly coloured, for the details of the marbling. 

Before passing into the aisle one will do well to remark the 
fine figure of the Greek cipollino column here, and the delicate 
tracery of its capital. 

Chapel of St. George and the English Martyrs 

In this, the next chapel westwards, we observe the central 
column of Swiss cipollino (more yellow in tone and waxy in texture 
than that quarried from the Euboean land) rising from a light 


labradorite base. The altar, made from a design prepared 
in the Bentley office, was executed by a firm of marble- 
workers not hitherto employed in the cathedral, Messrs. Arthur 
Lee & Co., of Hayes. The altar and mensa are carried out in 
very light pavonazzo, a strong contrast being provided in the 
three panels of the frontal, verde antico forming its side panels 
and rouge sanguine of Klaber the centre. The low dossal is of 
red Greek marble powdered with conventional roses of England 
in pearl inlay and framed in white marble, with the shield 
of St. George carved on the terminal pilasters. Brick piers 
faced with the red marble, capped and based with white, rise on 
either side, to carry the canopy designed to complete the altar, 
for which, together with other work in tliis chapel, Bentley left 
coloured drawings, the marbles being, in some instances, named. 
The predella is of wood with an inscription as follows on the white 
marble surrounding it, of which the steps also are composed : 


An eminently suitable suggestion — put forward in 1915 and 
supported by the late Duke of Norfolk in a letter to The Tablet 
under the heading "Lest we forget" — that St. George's Chapel 
should be made a permanent and abiding memorial to CathoUcs 
who gave their lives in the war, has taken shape and a beginning 
has been made in the marble tablets to the fallen which form part 
of the decoration on the window side of this chapel. These tablets, 
in a pale cream-toned marble, with wreaths and lettering incised 
in red, record the names of the gallant dead and are surmounted 
with a frieze of grey-gieen adorned with panels of dark red marble, 
inlaid in white with the rose emblem of St. George and England. 
A suitable inscription will eventually be cut above the frieze. 









Plate XXVIII. — View op the Lady Chapel i-uom the South Tbansept, whose Splendid 
Columns of Rose de Languedocj ake seen in the Fokeground. 

(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



Chapel of the Holy Souls 

This, we believe, will be unanimously admitted to be the most 
interesting chapel in the cathedral, and for two reasons. The first, 
which applies equally to the Brampton chantry, is that every 
detail of the marble-work and the enclosing grille of gilt bronze 
emanated from the master-mind : the second, in respect of which 
this chapel is unique, resides in the fact that the design and 
cartoons for the mosaics were produced under Bentley's constant 
supervision by an artist who had known his mind intimately for 
many years ; so that, although they were not completed till after 
his death, they reflect, as faithfully as may be, the architect's ideal 
of the proper technique and application of this art. 

As befits the dedication, the colour scheme is laid in sombre 
tones, a general black-and-white effect being thus attained ; even 
the conventional gold ground of the mosaic is dispensed with and 
replaced by one of dull silvered tesserae. In the column of 
splendid labradorite is struck, as it were, the keynote of this theme 
of natural human mourning, passing, in the perfect capital of 
white marble, into the Christian's faith and hope in a joyous 
resurrection. Throughout we shall be impressed with this sym- 
bolic mingling of sorrow and hope. The two arches of this south 
side are soberly faced and lined on soffite with a grey Zola 
marble, while opposite, carrying the arches of the window openings, 
in delightful contrast, is a most elegant column of nearly white 
pavonazzo, its swag-adorned base resting on a rectangular ped- 
estal of green of Tinos. This pair of arches is likewise faced with 
grey moulding, the tympani, reveals, and soffits of the window 
recesses being mosaic clad, in a pattern of blue and red chevrons 
on a silver ground. An irregular pentagon of Imperial yellow 
marble is set centrally above the pair of segmental-headed lights 
within each arch (Plate XXIII). 

The north wall, curved into two slight recesses below the win- 
dow-sills of white marble, and the west end are covered with 
vertical slabs of verde mare, each headed with a narrow panel of 


Levanto and separated by narrow white bands inlaid with a 
repeating design of pomegranates in black cement. The white 
string at the height of the window-sills is continued round the 
western and eastern ends. Slabs of red Levanto sheet the brick 
piers up to this level, its dusky tone in no wise interfering with the 
general note of mourning ; above, up to the main cornice, whence 
springs the mosaic work, the clear grey tones of Bardiglio fiorito 
contrast with the angle pieces of dark dove. 

The west wall is treated above the lower moulding with great 
opened-out slabs of the Bardiglio fiorito, the line of the cornice being 
broken and to enclose them extended upwards at right angles to 
the point in the lunette where the mosaic begins. On the inner sides 
of the southern piers are carved frames of white marble destined 
to enclose subjects in opus sectile ; at the moment of writing the 
spaces remain bare brickwork. The foliated and fluted corbels 
of white marble, whence spring the mouldings of the archivolts, are 
placed above these frames. 

Deeply recessed within the eastern arch stands the altar 
beneath a majestic altarpiece framed in white marble carved and 
moulded. Its Greek cipollino dossal is similarly framed, the mensa 
being of breccia ; while the frontal is composed of three panels of 
portoro, or black and gold, a very dark marble whose sobriety is 
accentuated by edging bands of white and black. The predella 
is inset with rouge antique from the Pyrenees. Bardiglio fiorito is 
again largely employed, being used for the gradine, the altar steps, 
and the flooring of the chapel; being combined in the last with 
narrow lines of rosso antico, inlaid with black and white dia- 
monds, running longitudinally at intervals of 20 in. These lines 
are diverted and interrupted by the arms of the Walmesley 
family, quartering those of Weld-Blundell, represented in marbles 
of correct tincturing at the foot of the altar steps. Canadian blue, 
Siena and grande breche de Klaber furnish the required hues of 
azure, or, and gules. On both sides of the chapel the grey flooring 
is bordered with a pattern of squares within narrow lines of black, 
each square consisting of alternating halves of grey and white. 


Very charming are the little vaulted niches to right and left in 
the altar recess, lined with vertically placed strips of Belgian black 
and breche verte, under a banding of black and white chevrons ; 
this same device, in tesserae of black and gold, also lines their 
vaulting. Above each niche a panel in opus sectile, carrying the 
decoration up to the main cornice, displays a deep blue ground 
patterned with interlacing circles of gold on which are suspended 
snowy draperies inscribed, on the left, with the words : justorum 


Yet another variety of marble, hitherto unnoticed, has been 
introduced into the decoration of this chapel, namely, the green 
marble of Genoa, which forms the wall covering at either side of 
the altar below the first cornice. Above that we find again the 
Bardiglio fiorito panels. 

The altarpiece in opus sectile represents Christ our Lord en- 
throned and displaying His Five Wounds. The figure occupies a 
sort of plaque which covers the centre of a cross and is clad in 
drapery of dusky crimson, very rich in colour, its folds accentuated 
with gold lines in the Byzantine manner. Below are the Blessed 
Virgin and St. Joseph interceding, with hands upraised, for the 
Holy Souls. Surrounding the cross are the seraphs of the apoca- 
lyptic vision, the seven spirits before the throne. Silver and white 
are the throne draperies, violet-red the six- winged seraphs, outlined 
and feathered with lines of gold. The golden cross of the back- 
ground with ornamentation of red and white displays the symbolic 
Alpha and Omega at its extremities, and with the throne rises from 
a boldly tessellated pavement of black and white, which serves to 
give perspective to the whole (Plate XXXIII), 

The background is a diaper in deep blue and gold. In the 
lower corners are inset two small panels representing the donor 
of the chapel and her husband in the attitude of prayer. Mrs. 
Robert Walmesley on the left is in the habit of the third order of 
St. Benedict, which she entered after her husband's death ; he, 
on the right, garbed in a dark cloak, kneels before the " Vera 


Effigies " in commemoration of a devotion to which in hfe he was 
particularly attached. 

Let us now examine the mosaics in this chapel, prefacing our 
description by explaining that the surfaces thus covered include : 
(a) the barrel vault, penetrated on either side by the two pairs of 
arches already mentioned, and continuing downwards between 
these arches so as to form a kind of curved spandrel whose lower 
edge rests on the bevelled capital of the marble coltman ; (b) the 
two terminal tympani or lunettes ; (c) the two flat archivolts 
with corresponding soffits which intervene at either end of the 
chapel between the barrel vaulting and the terminal lunettes. 

An interesting account of the mosaics, by the Rev. Herbert 
Lucas, S.J., was published in the Tablet of November 14th, 1903, 
very shortly after their completion. Since it would be difficult 
to improve upon this description, we venture, -vvith the writer's 
permission, to transcribe a large portion of his article : 

" The subjects depicted, bold in their simplicity, are strongly 
knit together by living bonds of analogy and symbolism so as to 
form an organic scheme. . . . The leading theme is expressed by 
the two figures which occupy the spandrels mentioned above, and 
which tower above them into the main field of the barrel vault. 
These are the figures of Adam, the progenitor of the human race 
and the author of its ruin, and of Christ, the second Adam and 
the restorer of the broken fortunes of mankind. On the southern 
ramp of the vault is depicted Adam, standing in an open grave, 
with his spade beside him, beneath the fateful tree. Round this and 
round himself is coiled the serpent, who presents in his distended 
jaws the forbidden fruit in the form of a skull (Plate XXXVI). 

" On the northern ramp of the vault, opposite to Adam, stands 
Christ, new-risen from the tomb, holding aloft the cross as His 
standard of victory. To the thorns which hedge round Adam's 
grave correspond, in the opposite picture, flowers white and red. 
The texts : (1) sicut in adam omnes moriuntur, (2) ita in 
CHRiSTO OMNES viviFiCABUNTUR, Suitably interpret the two figures 
which they respectively accompany. These two inscriptions are 


executed in extremely bold letters on a silver background, ... so 
large indeed are the letters that such of them as are visible from 
any given point can be read with ease from the opposite side of 
the broad nave. . . . The general effect of the two inscriptions, 
giving as they do the key to the whole composition, is no less 
pleasing than it is striking. 

" In the western lunette, in conformity with the most primitive 
iconographic tradition in the case of mortuary chambers or 
chapels, are shown the Three Children in the fiery furnace. The 
angel who walks in the midst of them is none other than Christ 
Himself, bearing bread and wine for their sustenance and refresh- 
ment ; a bold conception admirably expressed. Above on a 
trapezoidal plaque, superimposed, as it were, on the field of the 
picture (somcw^hat after the fashion of a ' shield of pretence ' on 
a coat of arms) is seen Nabuchodonosor taking counsel with his 
wise men or officers, and asking them, as the accompanying 
inscription indicates : nonne tres viros misimus in medium 
IGNIS COMPEDITOS ? and exclaiming in surprise : ecce ego video 


DEI (Dan. iii. 91, 92). The glare from the flames of the furnace 
pervades the whole of the lunette, and is the more striking by 
contrast with the silver-grey which forms the background of the 
entire barrel vault, 

" It is, however, in this part of the composition that the one 
jarring note (as it seems to me) is struck. If the subject of the 
Three Children had been treated as a historical scene, then, of course, 
it would have been necessary to represent the fate of these ministers 
of the tyrant King, who, when they would have heaped fire on 
the furnace, were themselves destroyed. But here the treatment 
is not historical but symbolical ; and the question suggests itself, 
whether it was either necessary or desirable to represent, with a 
somewhat gruesome realism, the luckless fate of these men. . . . 
Of course it may be replied that these figures, like the rest, are 
to be understood symbolically, and that the fate of the would-be 


executioners has its analogue in the frustrated schemes of the 
superhuman enemies of mankind, the demons. But even this con- 
sideration hardly reconciles one, or, at least, it does not reconcile 
me, to the relative prominence which the artist has thought well 
to give to this supposable diabolic element in his allegorical group. 
. . . This frank criticism may at any rate serve to show that I 
have no desire to deal out undiluted praise, even to such a master- 
piece as I believe the mosaics of this chapel to be. 

" The subject set forth in the eastern lunette answers to the 
one just described as antitype answers to type. It exhibits the 
suffering in process of liberation from their prison house. On 
the left as one faces the altar, stands an archangel (? Raphael), 
who presides over the cleansing fires, and before whom pass the 
souls, loaded with chains and with soiled garments. On the other 
side stands Michael welcoming them as they come forth, their 
bonds broken and their garments cleansed, and sending them 
forward and upwards to the heavenly light. The words of the 
liturgy, ' Signifer sanctus Michael reprsesentet eas in lucem 
sanctara,' are here, as it were, translated into action. 

" The whole subject is treated processionally, some seven souls 
being represented in different stages of purification and liberation, 
and the general effect is extremely fine. The figures of the two 
archangels, in their garb of regal splendour, dominate the whole 
picture and contrast with the pale faces and vesture of the suffering 
souls, the distinctions among whom are marked by delicate shades 
of difference which at first sight are apt to escape notice, but 
which grow on the beholder as he looks and learns to admire. 
The inscription : si cujus opus arserit detrimentum patietur 


comment, but is itself the obvious commentary explaining the 
subject represented (Plate XXXV.) 

" On the soffit of the arch which canopies the altar, we read 
the words, enclosed in a border of scroll-work : beati mortui 



ILLOS ; while on the ramp of the arch, on either side of this 
central inscription, are brief texts (not scriptural) recording 
the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The 
arch-face bears the inscription in very large letters : requiem 


The corresponding recess at the western end of the chapel is 
shallower (since it contains no altar) than that at the east end, 
and its treatment is simpler and, if one may say so, more con- 
ventional. Neither arch-face nor soffit has any inscription. 

" Something must now be said of the colour scheme and 
technique of the work, for the execution of which the greatest 
credit is due to Mr. George Bridge and the lady mosaicists who 
worked under his direction. As has already been implied, the 
whole field of the great barrel vault has been covered with silver 
tesserae ; and although the brilliancy of these is considerably 
toned down and subdued to a greyish hue by the salmon-tinted 
cement ' which fills the interstices, and although, moreover, the 
continuity of the field is relieved or broken by two exquisite gar- 
lands from designs drawn by Mr. Bentley, the treatment of sur- 
faces so large with a single colour or metal could hardly fail to 
present considerable difficulty. It is not too much to say that the 
difficulty has been overcome with the most marked success. If 
the tesserae had been placed side by side and row by row like the 
squares on a chessboard and worked to a smooth surface (an ar- 
rangement which seems to be favoured by some artists in mosaic, 
the effect of the silver- sheathed vault would have been one of 
almost intolerable monotony. 

" But nothing of this sort is to be observed in Mr. Symons's 
design, as it has been admirably carried out by Mr. Bridge. By 
consistently adhering to the fundamental principle which has been 
so well understood by Sir W. B. Richmond in his work at St. 
Paul's, viz. that the technical excellence of mosaic which is in- 
tended to be seen from a distance largely depends on roughness of 

^ In whose composition a considerable proportion of red lead was employed. — 

W. DE l'H. 


surface which produces an effect otherwise unattainable, and by 
most skilfully varying the contours of the rows of tesserae, Mr. 
Bridge has achieved an effect of stippling which entirely does 
away with the monotony that would otherwise have marred this 
portion of the scheme. The two leading figures, those, namely, of 
Adam and Christ, receive all the prominence which their isola- 
tion can give, while the great surface of silver produces an im- 
pression of richness without dazzling brightness or featureless 
smoothness which could have been attained perhaps in no other 

To conclude with the chronology of this chapel. The marble 
facing of the window arches, ordered from Messrs. Whitehead in 
December 1901 and completed in April 1902, was a necessary 
prelude to the work of the mosaicists. By June 1902 the Chapel 
was filled with scaffolding for Mr, George Bridge and his lady as- 
sistants to begin the mosaic incrustration, certain portions of this 
having previously been prepared on canvas in the Oxford Street 
studios to which Bentley paid frequent visits in the winter pre- 
ceding his death. After eighteen months of incessant labour the 
mosaicists completed their work by November 1903. Messrs. J. 
Whitehead & Sons having signed the contract for the main part 
of the marble-work in February 1902, finished all theirs with the 
exception of the floor in nine months from that time. Mr. 
Symons then proceeded with the painting of the opus sectile altar- 
piece, and the panels above the side recesses, which were placed 
in position in 1904. 

Next the floor, ordered in March 1906 from Whitehead, was 
completed in the following June, and finally the chapel received 
its bronze gilt grille in 1908. This, stretching from pier to column, 
and screening the altar, is 15 ft. high by 11 ft. wide. Its design, 
which formed part of Bentley's own completed details for this 
chapel, is superb in the Byzantine severity of its twisted and 
beaded balusters, bearing a broad frieze of beaten and interlaced 
metalwork, with a row of spiked spheres along the topmost mould- 
ing. This screen is extraordinarily in harmony with the spirit of 


the building and with its position therein, and commands much 

Mrs. Robert Walmesley generously gave £10,000 for the 
building and decoration of this chantry, which, as we have seen, 
is complete with the exception of the opus sectile subjects for the 
two pier panels on its southern side. When this lady became a 
widow she entered the Benedictine Order, and later, as Mother 
Etheldreda, became prioress of their convent at East Bergholt, 
Suffolk. The cathedral owes her an immense debt of gratitude. 

Before leaving the chapel there yet remains to notice the 
wooden confessional, which, set against the west wall, is of the 
elaborate design, previously described, to which ultimately all 
those placed in the cathedral will conform. This one was speci- 
ally adapted for the convenience of the lame and the deaf. 

The Tower Chamber or Registry 

Through a pair of oaken doors in the aisle ingress is obtained 
to the ground-floor chamber of the campanile, an octagonal vaulted 
apartment known as the registry, which serves also as a robing 
room on ceremonial occasions. Thence ascends the spacious oak 
staircase of 374 steps, whereby the adventurous and energetic may 
attain the summit of St. Edward's Tower and a fair and ever- 
widening view of London as the higher stages are successively 

The North-West Porch 

This entrance, occupying the north-west corner of the church, 
opens into the narthex, whence one descends by a trio of segmental 
white marble steps to the level of the porch floor. The street level 
is reached by a further external descent of four steps. This porch 
is lobbyless, a cross- vaulted square compartment projected west- 
wards to the extent of about half its width again by a deep barrel- 
vaulted recess, pierced with two triple-light windows, each set 


beneath a small glazed lunette of terracotta, A larger terracotta 
lattice, segmental-headed, opens the tympanum of the containing 

Much charm is concentrated in the slender coupled columns of 
Norwegian granite which rise from a dwarf wall of brickwork 
(extending at right angles from between the window arches) 
to carry the vaulting ; and no less attractive, when ultimately 
clothed with marble, will be the small vaulted niches which break 
the monotony of the wall to right and left in the window recess. 
As yet this porch is internally destitute of decoration if one excepts 
such structural matters as the columns just mentioned, although 
Bentley left the required coloxu-ed designs, to one-inch scale, for 
its completion. 

The Sacristies 

To inspect this essentially important department of a church's 
administrative equipment, we must revert to the south-eastern 
side, where will be found, at the end of the processional way' 
coincident with the south aisle of the Lady Chapel, the entrance 
to the lobby and outer sacristy. The latter is a cross-vaulted com- 
partment with a central column of pink granite, its stone capital 
carved to represent the four elements of nature, as our fore- 
fathers called them, earth, fire, wind, and water. The floor is 
paved with a very enduring composition of marble crushed small, 
and set in cement. The plastered walls are mostly lined with 
presses and cupboards of no particular merit, while built into the 
wall on the left is a great fire- and burglar-proof safe. The portrait 
of the architect painted shortly before his death by his future son- 
in-law, Rene de I'Hopital, and presented to the cathedral by the 
late Canon White and other subscribers, hangs on the opposite 
wall, on the left of the entrance to the great or "state " sacristy. 

Through an arched doorway whose tympanum is glazed with 

* The architect prepared a general scheme for its marble revetment and a complete 
design for the doorway leading to the outer sacristy. 


Venetian roundels over an imposing pair of oaken doors, panelled 
and moulded, the upper panels being replaced by grille-work 
of bronze, we enter this stately apartment, 60 ft. long, 30 ft. in 
breadth, and 38 ft. high to the crown of its barrel-vaulted roof. 
It is lighted from the south by a pair of small windows set within 
an arched opening beneath a semi-circular-headed roundel-glazed 
light ; from the east by three couples of similar windows and a 
fourth pair with a window- seat placed at a necessarily lower 
level (Plate XXXIV). 

A glance at the plan (fig. 6) reveals the fact that the room 
consists of five bays, four having the maximum breadth of 30 ft., 
wliile the fifth at the north end is in part but 20 ft. wide, and is 
extended by the little apse which was in Bentley's design intended 
to embrace the altar required by rubric, now placed in a bare 
fashion against the south wall. The barrel vault, strengthened by 
massive ribs and coffered in alternate octagons and squares of 
decorative plaster-work, extends over the four broad bays only, 
the lunette of its supporting wall at the northern extremity of 
the fourth bay being pierced with a roundel-glazed window above 
the arched opening into the fifth bay. As things are now ar- 
ranged, a screen of wood and glass extending across the floor of the 
sacristy at this point, cutting off the narrower bay from the main 
body of the sacristy, reduces it to the duty of serving as a mere 
passage-way from Archbishop's House. There is no doubt 
that thus to continue the cloister in a straight line to the outer 
sacristy without (apparently) passing through the state sacristy is 
an additional convenience ; under the original arrangement the 
altar must have been in the line of perpetual traffic; but in 
extenuation of what may at first sight appear a defective piece 
of planning, it must be borne in mind that Bentley's original 
dispositions at the east end were seriously disturbed by the 
giving up of the original idea of a monastic establishment to 
serve the cathedral, after the building of the church was far 

The bay to the right of the great doors is shown with ad- 


joining lavabos on the plan, now omitted ; the central bay was 
intended to contain a stately fireplace with a shallow arched recess 
on either side of the chimney breast, but it is liidden by the oak 
presses wliich are continuous the length of this wall. On the op- 
posite side they cease, as the illustration shows, at the deep recess 
in which occur the low window and Avindow seat. In common 
with the cathedral and its other offices, the sacristy is kept at an 
adequate temperature by the hot-air apparatus ; it was for this 
reason, reinforced by motives of economy in money and space, 
that the Cardinal decided to forego the dignified fireplace Bentley 
had planned. 

It will be further observed that the provision made on the 
plan for a great press raised upon a platform in the centre of the 
floor has not been carried out. Those seen in the photo- 
graph were adapted to suit the altered conditions of the room 
from Bentley's own simple Renaissance designs in the style 
familiar under the name of Jacobean. They, as well as the vest- 
ing altar, were carried out in Bruges by Monsieur L. Beyaert, 
who, also by the Cardinal's wish, made the library bookcases. 
Their details are, we think, rendered sufficiently clear by the illus- 
tration. The altar, also of oak fumed and wax polished, with 
four slender oak columns to carry the mensa, is sparingly inlaid 
with holly and bog oak. The cupboards which project in front 
of four of the piers have flat tops intended to receive the carved and 
tinctured armorial bearings of the Archbishops of Westminster. 
Those of the Cardinal-Founder and of the present occupant of the 
see are thus placed on either side of the " fireplace " bay. It is 
to be noted that all the fittings of this sacristy are based on the 
model of those in the Chiesa Nuova in Rome. 

The staircase of the cathedral's south-eastern turret is con- 
tinued down to the half-basement, where we shall find the working 
sacristy and other offices. The former, of equal width with the 
state sacristy, is shorter by the amount of the passage bay, and is 
fitted in practical fashion with every requirement for the efficient 
service of a great and well-organised ecclesiastical building. Two 


semi-circular windows at the south end and three on the east at 
the outside ground level afford satisfactory illumination. The 
sacristy floor being considerably lower than that of the corridor 
which unites the cathedral to the lower cloister of the house, the 
descent is accomplished by means of a short flight of stairs within 
the room. 



The mention of Byzantine architecture commonly fails to arouse 
enthusiasm — at least in those who have not seen the Westminster 
Cathedral — for the very good reason that previous to its erection 
there was not a Byzantine church in the world that was not 
either vitiated — like Santa Sophia at Constantinople and San 
Marco at Venice^by obvious flaws and shortcomings, or else, like 
San Vitale at Ravenna or St. Luke's at Stiris, was too small to sug- 
gest at first sight all that might be done on a vast scale with the 
same structural elements. Bentley, who lived only to see the outer 
shell of his great work completed, divined, as no one in modern 
times had divined before him, the capabilities of Byzantine 
architecture ; and we have here the outcome of his perception. 
This absence of enthusiasm or interest no doubt partly arises 
also from a mere lack of familiarity with good examples of Byzan- 
tine architecture and from long association with Gothic ; but 
partly also from the habit of judging of a style by its superficial 
appearance without reflection on the structural principles which 
underlie it and which it presupposes, and without recognition of 
those limitations which the very nature of building materials im- 
poses on the architect. The warmest admirers of Bcntley's master- 
piece will readily admit that in certain particulars a Gothic cathedral 

^ For the material of this chapter the author is entirely and gratefully indebted to the 
Rev. Herbert Lucas, S. J., who, while kindly permitting her to make use of articles from 
his pen published from time to time in the Tablet and the CatJiedral Record and of liis 
contributions to the Catholic Encyclopoedia and the Manual of Consecration of Westminster 
Cathedral issued in 1910 by Messrs. Burns & Oates, has revised the chapter and eiu:iched 
it with a considerable amount of new material. 


Plate XXIX. — Detah. of Lady Chatel Mahble-Work. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


is far more beautiful than any Byzantine church could possibly 
be. But this admission must not blind us to the truth that beauty 
of form may be too dearly bought, and that the characteristic 
beauties of Gothic architecture are unattainable in conjunction 
with that ample spaciousness at which the Roman and By- 
zantine builders aimed, and which Bentley has achieved at 

It cannot be too constantly borne in mind that the characteristic 
features of the great architecture of the world are due, not, in the 
first instance, to a striving after beauty of form, but to the need 
of a practical solution, with the means available, of some struc- 
tural problem. To such structural considerations all manner of 
ornament, whether embedded (so to say) in the structure or 
applied to it, was in its origin, as indeed it should always be, 
strictly subordinate. 

Confining our attention for the present to ecclesiastical archi- 
tecture, it may be said that all varieties of architectural " style," 
in the case of vaulted buildings, have their roots in two markedly 
contrasted structural systems, which may be described respectively 
as the rigid and the balanced. Not of course that any structure 
can be absolutely rigid, or that balance alone, without cohesiveness, 
can ever ensure practical stability. The distinction has reference 
to tendencies and aims rather than to perfect accomplishment. 
To state the matter in a concrete form, the aim of the Roman 
builder was so to construct his building that it might be, in effect, 
a solid mass of concrete, in which the thrust of the vaulting 
should be rendered as far as possible latent or potential, rather 
than actual. 

And yet, because thrust could not be entirely eliminated, and 
because its effects or results would be fatal to a rigid vault which 
could only " give " by cracking, the Roman builder was careful 
to make ample provision for resistance by means of massive 
buttresses, all the more necessary when continuous barrel vaulting 
was used. The Gothic builders of mediaeval Europe, on the con- 
trary, strove so to counteract every thrust by means of a counter- 



thrust or strut (such as was provided by the " flying buttress "), 
that the cohesive function of the mortar, and consequently the 
rigidity of the vaulting, should be reduced to a minimum. 

But again, these contrasted structural systems were not 
adopted (as a " style " is sometimes adopted in our days) arbi- 
trarily. The Roman Imperial builders on the one hand possessed 
the secret of a strongly cohesive mortar or cement and the materials 
necessary for its composition, and on the other hand they had at 
command large numbers of comparatively unskilled workmen, by 
whose united and rapid labour massive edifices could be quickly 
raised, to be afterwards beautified by skilled artificers. And 
although this last remark might seem to apply exclusively to the 
civil architecture of Imperial Rome, yet it so far bears upon ecclesi- 
astical architecture that the methods of construction employed by 
the Roman builders in Imperial times continued to be employed, 
with modifications, long after the circumstances and conditions 
to which they owed their origin had ceased to exist. 

The Gothic builders, on the other hand, had plenty of skilled 
labour at their command, but had either lost the Roman art of 
mixing cement or lacked the necessary materials.' Hence, the 
treatment of thrusts as actual and active, needing to be resisted, 
as has been said, by strut or counter-thrust, and hence, ultimately, 
the wonderful lightness and elasticity or non-rigidity of the Gothic 

So much for the fundamental contrast, in point of structural 
system, between Roman and Gothic architecture. But in several 
respects the Byzantine builders improved on Roman methods, 

* It is curious but, I believe, undoubtedly true, that the loss of the art of making 
mortar (or the difficulty of obtaining the necessary cement) had much to do with the 
process of development from Romanesque to Gothic. Truro Cathedral — a modern 
Gothic church, built rigidly with strong mortar, cracked in various directions within a 
very short time of its completion. The thirteenth-century " Goths " were wiser. They 
knew that so complex a structure must be allowed to settle, and that it would be fatal to 
make the joints rigid. In fact the masonry of these old cathedrals did settle, but without 
cracks, by the simple process of stone slipping slightly on stone. Afl a rule, of course, the 
mortar held, but here and there it " gave " and allowed the parts of the vault to settle 
into their place. — H. L. 


even while in the main they held to the principle of rigidity.' 
First of all, they employed domical in preference to barrel vaulting 
or cross vaulting, thereby securing greater stability, a better 
distribution of thrusts, and a less monotonous appearance in their 
vaulting. In this more universal use of the dome they employed 
it, not merely as the central and dominant feature of a building, 
but in successive bays, as a substitute for the monotonous and 
structurally unsatisfactory barrel vault. 

Secondly, they constructed their vaults, and in particular their 
domes,^ as light as possible. For instance, there could hardly be 
a greater contrast than between the ponderous vaulting of the 
Pantheon in Rome and the egg-shell dome of S. Vitale at Ravenna, 
constructed as this is of jars fitted neck and foot together in 
spiral coils. 

Thirdly, they took over and adapted the Greek classical column 
in a fashion unrealized and unattained by the architects of the 
Italian neo-classical school. 

The Roman and Italian neo-classical style of ecclesiastical 
architecture, and the Byzantine, are both in a sense composite 
and in both the same primary elements are combined, but in very 
different ways. The Italian classical style resulted from the 
adoption of the Greek column, with its architrave, frieze, and 
cornice, by architects who continued to build in the old Roman 
fashion. They adopted the Greek column, however, rather as an 
ornament than as a genuine means of support ; and as the orna- 
ment did not fit its new surroundings it was made to do so by a 
process of enlargement and external application, being set up in 
front of the structure, so as in a measure to hide it from view. 
Hence the degradation of the column to a mere pilaster ; while 
the entablature, which had served a useful purpose on the outside 

1 We say " in the main," for the Byzantine architects, in constructing their curtain 
walls between piers or buttresses, were awake to the importance of " live joints " for the 
avoidance of cracks in the mural masonry. But this is a technical detail into which it is 
hardly necessary here to enter. 

2 Moreover, whereas the architects of Imperial Roman days never got beyond covering 
a circular or polygonal buUding with a dome, the Byzantines by means of pendentives 
(t}ieir invention) solved the problem of the domical roofing of a square chamber. 


of the building, was brought indoors without such modifications 
as might have adapted it for its altered position. 

The Byzantine architects were wiser. As we have shown, they 
took over, and improved upon, the methods of construction which 
the Roman builders had taught them. They retained their massive 
piers and vaults of immense span, but they used them without con- 
cealment. With a true sense of the fitness of things they introduced 
the comparatively slender Greek monolithic column only for those 
subordinate purposes which it was suited to fulfil, and in fulfilling 
which it incidentally helped to enhance by contrast the massive 
grandeur of the main structure. If an illustration of this state- 
ment is needed by any one who may not be conversant with the 
subject, he may find it by noticing the use of monolithic columns, 
for the manifestly subordinate purpose of supporting the galleries, 
in the Westminster Cathedral. 

And fourthly, when the Byzantines took over the Greek column 
they did not fail to observe that in its classical form (such as may 
be seen at St. Mark's, Venice) it was quite unsuited, with its widely 
projecting capital, for the immediate support of an arch. A 
primitive method of getting over the difficulty was to interpose 
a sort of cushion-stone or super-capital between the true capital 
of the column and the springing of the arch as in the Ravenna 
churches. A better way was to modify the shape of the Ionic or 
Corinthian capital by reducing its horizontal splay, and to adorn 
it (as Bentley has done) with delicate carving in basso-relievo. 
The Greek cornice or entablature was, by the Byzantine builder, 
either omitted altogether (as at Westminster) or else transformed 
so as to serve the useful purpose of affording a secure passage 
" for the lamplighter " (as Paul the Silentiary has it) or for others 
engaged in the adornment or cleaning of the church. 

Moreover, Byzantine builders saw that the best way to adorn 
solid blocks and great surfaces of masonry or brickwork was not 
to overlay the main supports of the vaulting with illusory pilasters, 
whose only work was to carry more or less useless cornices, or to 
break up into coffers the surface of a vault as though it had been 


a flat ceiling, but to cover the whole interior of a building or chamber 
with a sheathing of marbles and mosaics — a method of adornment 
suitable to the objects to be adorned, and in the latter case capable 
not merely of decorative but of pictorial treatment, which is 
obviously of a higher order than merely decorative work. 

But Bentley did much more than to revive, in a single monu- 
mental example, a style of architecture whose raison d'etre had 
well-nigh been forgotten, and had never, perhaps, been thoroughly 
apprehended in Western Europe. As a mere matter of historical 
fact the Byzantine builders of the sixth and eleventh centuries had 
allowed themselves to be ruled, to an even greater degree than 
some of the Renaissance architects of Italy, by the notion that the 
most perfect form of church was that in which a great central 
dome dominated every other member of the building. And for 
this ideal there would be much to be said if a church were to be 
judged chiefly by its external appearance, or if its primary purpose 
were to serve as a great hall of assembly. But a church like Santa 
Sophia or our own St. Paul's, in which the great dome serves as a 
canopy, not for the altar, but for the people, and in which the altar 
is relegated to what is, after all, a secondary position, may be not 
unreasonably regarded as involving a kind of architectural solecism. 

On the other hand, if the altar be placed, as at St. Peter's, 
under the dome, then the insoluble difiiculty arises, as between 
architects and churchmen, whether the building shall have the 
form of a Greek or of a Latin cross. The difiiculty, as is well 
known, arose in the case of St. Peter's, and exercised the minds of 
all concerned in the building of it for considerably more than a 
century. Nay, as a matter of criticism, the question exercises 
men's minds still. Architectural writers for the most part assume 
as all but axiomatic that St. Peter's ought to have been completed 
in the form of a Greek cross. Those who hold that the form of a 
building ought to be subordinated to its purpose will continue, in 
spite of architectural critics, to rejoice that ecclesiastical authority 
was strong enough to insist on the lengthening of the nave of St. 
Peter's, and may be excused for suggesting that, if a long nave 


is incongruous with the original designs and with the portions 
actually built or begun by Bramante and Michael Angelo, the 
fault is to be found in the original design, rather than in the com- 
promise by which that design was modified to meet the needs of 
Christian devotion and worship. 

It may be asked what all this has to do with Westminster 
Cathedral. It has just this to do with it, that to our certain know- 
ledge, for we had it from his own lips, Bentley seriously considered 
the question whether or no his cathedral should have a great 
dome, comparable — in proportion — to that of St. Peter's ; and 
that he deliberately decided in the negative. His decision was 
determined (so far as we could gather his mind on the subject) 
not merely by the conflict which a great dome inevitably intro- 
duces between the claims of " form for form's sake " and the 
practical exigencies of liturgical and congregational worship, but 
also by another consideration. 

A central dome, whose ambit is greater than the width of the 
nave, all but necessarily postulates an open transept. And this 
Bentley would not have. Profoundly convinced of the capabilities 
of the Byzantine system of construction, he was not less impressed 
by the wisdom shown by the early Roman church builders in de- 
signing their basilicas. He was not alone in perceiving that one of 
the most characteristic and admirable features of the true Roman 
basilica is that all the lines of the perspective converge upon the 
altar, which, surmounted by its civory or baldacchino and framed, 
as it were, in the terminal apse, was plainly intended to be the 
focus of sight, as well as of worship.' Now this perspective effect 
is to a great extent destroyed by an open transept, and he would 
none of it. Nor was he content merely to screen off the transept, 
as in old St. Peter's and in S. Paolo fuori, by means of a section 
of projecting wall, but, like the architect of the Duomo at Pisa, 

' Originally the mysteries were secret (veiled). Gradually this law of the arcanum 
was relaxed and the opposite extreme is reached when the altar occupies a central position. 
The desirable ideal is that the altar be in a place withdrawn from tho tlirong, yet BO 
arranged that functions may be visible. This is best secured by the device of a retro- 


he would carry his colonnade and his gallery across the transept 
openings, would place his sanctuary in the next bay further cast, 
would make it narrower by some 10 ft. than the nave, and would 
shut it in on either hand by a double range of superposed columns. 
It should be an adytum, a sacrarium, a holy place, open indeed to 
the view of the faithful in the nave, but enclosed on either hand ; 
visible to the congregation of worshippers, but not the open centre 
of a vast crowd. 

Perhaps it is not too much to say that old St. Peter's came 
nearer to his ideal of what a Christian church should be than the 
monument of Renaissance architecture raised by the genius of 
Bramante and Michael Angelo. But old St. Peter's, like every 
other Roman and Romanesque basilica, was constructively im- 
perfect and insecure by reason of its timber roof ; and the syn- 
thesis which Bentley has so successfully effected at Westminster 
is the combination of the idea of a Roman basilica with the con- 
structive improvements introduced by the Byzantine architects. 

When, then, we come to search for a prototype of Westminster 
Cathedral among other Byzantine churches, S. Vitale (Fig. 4, p. 44), 
S. Lorenzo at Milan, St. Luke at Stiris, and St. Sergius at Constan- 
tinople Fig. 3, p. 44) must be left out of the reckoning. They are 
all Centralbauten, and they are buildings in which the practical 
requirements of public worship are subordinated to symmetrical 
perfection of form. To say this is not to condemn them as unsuit- 
able to their place and time. They are in their several ways 
admirable architectural monuments, but no one of them is in the 
least suited to modern conditions, least of all to the conditions 
obtaining at Westminster. 

Nor could Santa Sophia (Fig. 25) have served as a model. Of 
its splendours this is not the place to speak at length. Nor must 
it be taken as indicating a lack of appreciation of these splendours if 
attention is here drawn to the defects and shortcomings of that 
building. Even apart from its drawbacks as a Centralbau, it is 
lacking in structural stability, being quite inadequately buttressed 
towards the east end and perhaps also towards the west. One 


of the first things that strikes the critical observer, or even the 
careful student of its plans and sections, is the fact that all the 
columns, without exception, are linked together, neck to neck as 
it were, by iron tie-bands, the use of which is diversified at certain 
points by that of wooden struts or lateral supports. It would of 
course be impossible to determine from the mere inspection of 
drawings whether these makeshift devices (for as such we cannot 
but regard them) belonged to the original design or not. There 

Fig. 25. — St. Sophia, Constantinople: Ground Plan. 

seems indeed to be good reason for thinking that these subsidiary 
supports are contemporary with the original erection of the 
church. But whether this be so or no, in any case they point to 
some radical defect of construction. Nor is this defect far to seek. 
While plentiful provision of buttress piers has been made to resist 
the horizontal thrust of the dome towards the north and south, 
a very superficial study of the plan is sufficient to reveal the fact 
that no similar provision has been made for resistance to the 
longitudinal thrust (if we may so call it) towards the east and west. 


It is true that, so far as the northern and southern arches are 
concerned, their thrust has been diminished and the resistance to 
it increased by tlie following architectural device. Not only are 
these arches considerably less in span than those on the east and 
west (their utmost extension measuring only 72 ft. instead of 
100 ft.), but the abutment against which they rest has a depth of 
nearly 30 ft. instead of only 15 ft. And this diminution of the 
span of the arch, together with the extension of the abutment, 
may perhaps be regarded as an adequate compensation for the 
lack of secondary piers towards the east and west. But then it 
must be remembered that the outward thrust of the dome is not 
transmitted through the lateral arches alone, but acts also, lever- 
wise, on the brickwork of the transverse arches. 

To counteract this portion of the thrust the great semidomes 
are of course available ; and indeed it is sufficiently obvious 
that without them the whole building could make no pretence to 
stability. But their effect as buttresses is greatly weakened by 
the circumstance that their continuity is broken by the apsoids 
of the lateral exedrse, of which the axes are inclined obliquely to 
that of the semidomes themselves, and of which the inward thrust 
is not directly opposed to the principal force to be resisted. For 
whereas subsidiary conches when ranged around a dome aptly 
serve as buttresses, thus (Fig. 26) : 


Fio. 26. 

Fio. 27. 


this is not so when (as in the case of the eastern and western 
ends of Santa Sophia) a dome is, as it were, split into two halves, 
each of which has to serve as a buttress to a larger dome placed 
between them. For then the subsidiary conches A, B, C, D, 
weaken instead of strengthening the resistance to the outward 
thrust •^— — > of the great central dome. You cannot cut a 
dome in two, separate its halves and expose them to a pressure 
which is axial rather than radial, and then treat these half-domes 
as if, when thus separated, they were in fact parts of a single 
dome. This, if we mistake not, is what Anthemius of Tralles has 
attempted to do. And this is what necessitated from the very 
outset the use of tie-bands such as, in a modern edifice, would 
suggest the doubtful arts of the jerry-builder (Fig. 27). 

A flaw such as this might well be regarded as altogether 
unpardonable, and it may be worth while to inquire whether it 
is or is not the inevitable result of such a construction as is 
involved in the breach of continuity in the great eastern and 
western semi-domes to which we have just referred. For, indeed, 
had their continuity not been broken, the effect of spherical sur- 
faces so immense, at a level relatively so low, and in such close 
relation with the great dome itself, would have been intolerable. 
In order to avoid a tasteless monotony and at the same time to 
emphasise the scale of the dome, some kind of articulation of 
the semi-domes was a matter of all but absolute necessity. The 
mistake would seem to have lain, not so much in what the 
architect did, as in what he omitted to do. 

It is easy to be wise after the event ; but with plan and section 
and elevation before us, and with the help that may be derived 
from the study of the designs carried out in the case of other 
churches, it seems plain enough that the true solution of the 
problem lay in the erection of massive towers at the angle of the 
great square described about the circle of the dome. By means 
of such towers the buttress supports could have been equalized 
quite independently of the semidomes with their annexes, and 
instead of displaying, as at present, ugly protruding shoulders 


(for nothing can redeem the exterior of Santa Sophia as it is from 
the reproach of being hump- shouldered and ungainly) the brick- 
work of these unsightly supports would have entered into the 
construction of the corner towers, and these would have very 
greatly improved the external appearance, no less than the in- 
trinsic stability of the building. 

The sides of the towers, measuring some 40 ft. across, would, 
of course, have added about 80 ft. to the length of the nave ; but 
it would be futile to say that the dimensions thus attained would 
have been either excessive in themselves or inharmonious as 
regards the proportion of the length of the building to its width. 
If it be asked why so obvious a device did not suggest itself to the 
mind of Anthemius, we can only conjecture that he was perhaps 
somewhat dominated by the rudimentary model which he had 
before him in the church of St, Sergius. Even architects are to 
some extent subject to the unrecognised operation of the laws of 
progressive evolution. 

Nevertheless Westminster Cathedral owes something to Santa 
Sophia, for it is impossible to compare the lateral galleries of the 
great church at Constantinople with the double colonnade (two 
ranks of columns superposed) on the north and south sides of the 
sanctuary at Westminster, without being struck with at least a 
generic resemblance. That the advantage in point of gracefulness 
lies with Westminster will hardy be questioned. In particular 
the somewhat clumsy device of cushion super-capitals adopted by 
the architect of Santa Sophia has been wisely discarded. The 
crown of windows round the sanctuary dome is also reminiscent of 
Santa Sophia. 

It has been repeatedly remarked by those who have written 
on the Westminster Cathedral that whereas no single item in 
the building has been copied from any pre-existing model, hints 
and suggestions have been drawn from many sources. Set the 
plan of Westminster side by side with those of St. Sophia and St. 
Irene at Constantinople, of St. Vitale at Ravenna, of St. Mark's at 
Venice (Fig. 5, p. 45), or of others that could be named, and it will 


at once be evident that Bentley has not even approximately 
followed any earlier model, though he has drawn suggestions from 
several, as he would seem to have done likewise from at least two 
Romanesque churches, widely different in character, viz. the 
Duomo at Pisa, as we have already had occasion to remark, and 
the Domkirche at Speyer. 

But this is by no means the whole of the truth. A careful 
comparative study of Bentley's masterpiece with the most renowned 
examples of early and mediaeval Byzantine architecture brings to 
light (as we have just seen in the case of Santa Sophia) many par- 
ticulars in which the designer of the Westminster Cathedral has 
successfully avoided certain faults and defects which, to a greater 
or less extent, mar the perfection of even the best work of his 

A further, and an equally important, instance of this avoidance 
of errors into which the earlier church designers unwarily fell, may 
be realized by a consideration of the treatment of the lateral bays 
at Westminster Cathedral. Its nave has three principal bays, 
formed by the three pairs of great arches which, with the trans- 
verse arches, support the saucer domes. Now in more than one 
example of early and mediaeval Byzantine chiu-ches, e.g. in those 
of St. Irene at Constantinople and St. Mark at Venice, similar 
bays are found, and like those of the Westminster Cathedral, they 
are crossed by a gallery supported by columns. 

But, in connection with this arrangement, two rather glaring 
defects reveal themselves in the older churches. The first lies in 
the arrangement of the windows, the disposition of which, in a 
huge curtain wall, is apt to lack articulation and definite character. 
The harmonious articulation of extended surfaces is one of the 
standing problems which again and again exercise the ingenuity 
of the architect who aspires to success in the employment of the 
Byzantine style. That they have failed in this may be seen in the 
case of the examples cited, where the rows of plain round-topped 
lights, so many rows and so many in a row, almost suggest the 
windows in the wall of a modern factory. 


And the second defect lies in the way in which the great arched 
opening above the gallery, in the churches named, seems dwarfed 
and thrown out of proportion by the horizontal line of the gallery 
parapet, which cuts it across. The effect is almost as though one 
should bury the columns or pillars supporting a well-proportioned 
arch up to nearly half their height. Bentley knew a better way 
than that ; taking a hint, perhaps, from the Romanesque archi- 
tecture of mediaeval Europe. He has introduced into the lateral 
structure of his nave the great principle of coupled arches (two 
arches side by side within a great arch), carried out on a scale of 
magnitude never before attempted in the whole history of church 
building, and perhaps never attempted at all in a corresponding 
position, except in the cathedral at Speyer. 

It is the coupled arches which have solved the problem of 
articulation and fenestration, and which give to the nave of 
Westminster Cathedral its altogether unique character. Twenty- 
five feet in the span, 72 ft. 6 in. in height to the crown of the soffit, 
these secondary arches stand within the embrace of the great 
60 ft. archivolts. Crossed by the gallery at a height of 27 ft. (to 
the architrave of the balustrade) they rise above it 33 ft. to the 
springing of the arches and nearly 46 ft. to the crown. It is the 
insertion of these secondary arches which relieves the gallery 
arcade from the reproach of dwarfing, as at St. Mark's and St. 
Irene's, the principal arches. But more than this. By means of 
them the problem of the harmonious distribution of the windows 
has been perfectly solved. A great semi-circular light of nearly 
25 ft. diameter fills the tympanum of each, while a pair of lights 
below does not offend the eye as a featureless series of such open- 
ings would have done. And, if the general effect be considered, it 
will be observed that each principal bay now holds in its lateral 
face a system of no less than seven arches ; four on the lowest 
stage, each with a span of about 12 ft., forming the arcade on 
which the gallery rests ; two secondary arches of 25 ft. span ; 
and the great archivolt embracing all and unifying the whole 


Another point to be noted in regard to St. Mark's and West- 
minster Cathedral concerns the practical utility of the transepts of 
the one as compared with the other. In St. Mark's, as in other 
" monumental " churches, the effort to secure symmetry of form 
has led to the provision of spacious transepts, which do not, after 
all, lend themselves to the needs of public worship, the high altar 
being invisible from the great portion of these open spaces ; while, 
on the other hand, they are not needed as providing quasi-naves 
to side-chapels as at Westminster. 

In some respects St. Irene comes nearest in general design to 
Westminster. But St. Irene is spoiled by the stilted domes which 
surmount the nave. Bentley wisely adopted the device of 
" saucer " domes, in order (among other reasons) to break the line 
of visible roof as little as possible, so that the eye might be carried 
forward towards the sanctuary. 

It is matter for rejoicing that Bentley, who had once considered 
giving a triapsidal termination to the east end, was subsequently 
led to abandon this design. Not only would it have savoured of a 
somewhat slavish imitation of Santa Sophia (a slavish imitation 
was a thing which he abhorred), but such a breach of continuity in 
dealing with an apse of 50 ft. span would surely have incurred the 
reproach of something very like triviality. It would have afforded 
a regrettable instance of over-articulation. 

1'late XXXII. — Chatel of the Holy Souls, \\'ALMESi,Ey Chantky. 




Preliminary questions concerning pictorial schemes, choice of artists and style — Paint 
not to be introduced in any form — Need of a general plan — Father Bridgett con- 
sulted — His letter to the Cardinal — Suggestion of a committee of advice — Luncheon 
at Archbishop's House — Invitation to certain clerics and laymen to submit schemes 
— Seven hsts of subjects and saints — Mr. Edmund Bishop's scheme — Mr. Charles 
Weld-Blundell's list — Columns of Tablet opened to suggestions — Mr. Dudley Bax- 
ter's plan — Father Herbert Lucas's full scheme for nave, sanctuary, and choir — 
Bentley's scheme for Lady Chapel — Father Bridgett's scheme for the same — Mr. 
Symons chosen to make designs for Chapel of Holy Souls — Correspondence and 
suggestions — Appreciation of Mr. Symons's work — Messrs. Clayton & Bell selected 
to decorate chapel of SS. Gregory and Augustine — Osntrast and criticism of different 
styles of technique — Desire of certain artists to be consulted on decoration — Sir 
William Richmond's opinion and letters — Designs for tympanum of west front. 

Since but a minute proportion of the mosaic revetment of 
Westminster Cathedral has yet been achieved or even designed, 
this chapter can pretend, unfortunately, to no degree of complete- 
ness or finality. It is proposed to devote it to recording, as far 
as may be possible, the attempts made by authority to answer 
certain questions concerning the decoration of the cathedral, which 
began to press for solution about the end of the year 1898, 

It was never the desire nor the intention of the architect to 
grapple unaided with the problem of mosaic decoration, either as 
regards preparing a unified scheme or making the designs for 
carrying out such a scheme. He was fully aware that his time 
was too short and that he must be content with setting others on 
the right path. It was imperative then, when the time arrived 
for serious consideration of the enterprise, to find the solutions to 
a trio of pressing problems which may be put briefly as follows : 
(1) What principles shall guide and govern the production of the 
general and subsidiary schemes of pictorial treatment ? (2) Who, 



in a country so little accustomed to the uses of mosaic decoration, 
are the right men to be entrusted with this age-enduring work ? 
and (3) \^ hat technique shall govern the execution of the designs 
as prepared by the elect ? 

It must be understood, of course, that there was never any 
intention to introduce paint in the cathedral in any form — the aim 
being that the decoration should be permanent, and that people of 
generations to come should, so far as the interior is concerned, see 
the building as it left the hands of its creators, unaffected and 
undisturbed by time, like the glorious little mortuary of Galla 
Placidia at Ravenna, which to this day remains to tell how a 
person may be had in everlasting remembrance by a memorial 
almost eternal in its character. 

It was at the close of 1898, in view of the approaching roofing- 
in of the church, that Bentley, with a mind free from constructive 
problems, was able to indulge in the luxury of considering decora- 
tive ideals. Long consideration of the matter impelled him to the 
conclusion that, subject to the formulation on broad lines of a 
general scheme for the mosaics, the most satisfactory procedure 
would be to complete first, as to their dual revetment of marble 
and mosaic, one or more of the side chapels. Such a finished 
specimen of decoration would, he argued, be in the nature of an 
experiment, in the light of which the technique to be adopted in 
the treatment of the main body of the church might be decided. 
It would also be helpful from the financial point of view, by en- 
couraging further subscriptions for decorative work. And, in 
the third place, since the cost of four chapels had been wholly 
provided, it was clearly desirable that their benefactors, if still 
living, should enjoy without further delay the fruits of their 

Primarily, then, it was essential that those responsible should 
agree upon the outlines of a broad general plan in order to avoid 
overlapping in the choice of schemes of decoration suitable to the 
dedications of these four chapels and the remaining eight (including 
that of St. Peter in the crypt) for which no monetary provision 


had yet been made. In the matter of this general scheme, Cardinal 
Vaughan, realising that the widest co-operation should be sought, 
invited and welcomed suggestions from all qualified to frame them. 

Bentley's thoughts flew at once to an old friend for whom he 
possessed an almost filial admiration and respect, the learned 
historian and controversialist, the Rev. Thomas Bridgett, a member 
of the order of missionary priests known as the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. At that time Father Bridgett was endur- 
ing with touching fortitude the sufferings of his last illness at the 
monastery of St. Mary's, Clapham, built by Bentley some five 
years earlier. Probably it was on the latter's suggestion that 
Cardinal Vaughan consulted the author of " Our Lady's Dowry " 
about the decoration of the Lady Chapel, and that in January 1899 
he wrote a second time to obtain the dying man's ' advice on the 
subject of the general scheme. 

Before replying. Father Bridgett, in the rare intervals of free- 
dom from pain, discussed the matter with Bentley ; and then, 
in a letter which pathetically reveals the strong brain eclipsed by 
suffering, summed up the result of their conference and urged the 
immediate formation of a committee of advice. With the com- 
position of a committee, such as that outlined by Father Bridgett, 
we feel convinced that Bentley would have been a good deal less 
than satisfied. 

" Fbom my Sickbed, 

"January 29th, 1899. 

" My dear Lord Cardinal, 

" You were so kind as to ask for my suggestion as to the 
decoration of Our Lady's Chapel in the cathedral. I selected 
certain historic events, admitting pictorial treatment, all illustra- 
tive of England as Our Lady's Dowry.' Since then I have talked 
over the whole matter with Mr. Bentley. He remarked : 

1 Father Bridgett died on February 17th, 1899. 

' Cardinal Vaughan had from the outset expressed the wish that the nave should tell 
the history of the Cathohc Church in England ; and that the chapels of Our Lady and St. 
Peter should illustrate the devotion of the people of England to the Mother of God and 
the Vicar of Clirist. 



" 1. That before any part — such as a chapel — is either begun 
or planned, a general plan should be adopted, so that each smaller 
part may help to complete the whole. 

" 2. That your Eminence has expressed your wish that the 
body of the cathedral should have a historical character ; should 
give scenes from the history of the English Church or Church in 
England, British, Celtic, Saxon, Norman and later. 

"3. That the chapels should be rather treated theologically 
without excluding history, English or other. 

" 4, The ceiling from the apocalypse (?). 

" This general scheme seems to me excellent, but my little 
proposal for the Lady Chapel ' does not harmonize with it altogether. 
I should be appropriating to this chapel too much of the general 
plan. On the other hand it might be well planned that Our Lady's 
Dowry should be specially treated in Our Lady's Chapel, and St. 
Peter's patrimony in St. Peter's Chapel, etc. Presuming, then, on 
your Eminence's condescension, I venture to propose a course, 
though, as the proposal only emanates from the wearied brain of a 
sick man, it is little better than a dream. 

" I should think your Eminence, as well as the illustrious 
architect, would derive much assistance from the speedy appoint- 
ment of a committee to consider carefully the matter of mosaic 
decoration, which will be a new and special feature of your cathedral. 
The committee will, of course, only suggest, your Eminence decide. 
In a multitude of rulers there is only confusion, in a multitude of 
counsellors there is wisdom. The committee would consist prin- 
cipally of priests, but not necessarily of priests only, of your 
Eminence's diocesans, but with help from outsiders. Some might 
be versed in English history, some in theology, some in art. Your 
Eminence might begin by instructing a few to think out the subject ; 
these would propose to you other names for a committee, as also 
advisers or consulters, certain laymen as well as priests and ladies 
of culture and taste. Mr. C. N. Hemy, A.R.A.,' the only Catholic 
in the Academy, will gladly act on the committee. They would 

* See page 245. ^ Admitted to full academic honours in 1910. 


draw up a general plan, which, once approved, must be the guide 
on all special plans. 

" If the historic plan is approved a long list should be drawn 
up of historic scenes, admitting pictorial treatment, and these 
might be arranged chronologically or in groups of subjects. Prob- 
ably not a third part of these subjects would be finally selected. 
But the subjects should not be merely named : reference should 
be given to the original authorities or to accessible manuals, where 
the artists might study the subject. After each saint or English 
primate might be stated where a good likeness (or type) could be 
found : the date, so that the costume could be studied. If it 
is a matter of historical monument, then what information have 
we ? To the word Glastonbury could be added the date of sup- 
posed foundation by St. Joseph of Arimathaea, or, if this is too 
apocryphal, the imaginary Chapel of Our Lady, wattled, or the 
present state of the ruins. To the word St. German, the Alleluia 
Victory and its date, so that an artist could supply ecclesiastical 
customs, Celtic dress, etc. . . . 

" When the outlines of the plan have been approved, a circtdar 
letter might be sent to cultivated people, asking for other sugges- 
tions or criticisms. Artists would apply to the committee for 
instructions, and would receive warning not to encroach on sub- 
jects to be treated elsewhere. Other members of the committee 
would suggest how certain subjects, e.g. the Precious Blood, the 
Blessed Sacrament, the Blessed Virgin, could be treated theo- 
logically. Perhaps some competitions with prizes might be pro- 
posed.' If the general plan of the church and nave were once 
fixed, there would be no need to find an artist at once for the 
whole. A portion might be begun at once under the care of a 
special artist." 

Father Bridgett's letter then proceeds with a long list of historic 
scenes, under the headings of British and Celtic, Saxon, Norman 

' We may feel very certain that Father Bridgett never induced Bentley to approve 
tliis suggestion. 


and later times, from the age of tradition down to the consecration 
of England to Our Lady and St. Peter at the London Oratory in 
1893. He concludes by summarizing the duties of the proposed 
" Committee of Decoration " : 

" I have said that the labour of the committee would consist 
at first in proposing plans : 1. So that the general public might 
enter into the spirit of the thing. 2. That the rich may be en- 
ticed to select some portion as their own share, and understand 
what that share would be, its extensions and its limits. 3. And 
in facilitating reference to history . . . 

" Your Eminence's devoted servant, 

" T. G. Bridgett." 

The idea of a consultative committee appears to have received 
favourable consideration at the moment since the Cardinal went so 
far as to invite certain artists and other men of influence to dine 
with him one Sunday that spring, to discuss the decorative scheme. 
But their meeting did not result in the formation of any definite 
body of counsellors, and ultimately the idea died out.' The meeting 
in question being arranged for Sunday, April 16th, Bentley wrote 
some days earlier to his old friend W. Christian Symons to warn 
him of possible developments : 

"13, John Street, Adelphi, 
"April Sth, 1899. 

" Dear Mr. Symons, 

" Some time ago at an interview I had with the Cardinal, 
the subject of the decoration of the cathedral was broached, 
when I told him that I should like you and Sargent ' to do a chapel 
each, and that I would take up a third. I have just heard from 
the Cardinal to the effect that Sargent is to dine with him next 
Sunday, and he wishes me to join the party, I at once accepted 

^ Those to be invited to serve on the Committee were the R.A.'s, Sargent, Tadema, 
Abbey, Herkomer, and Hemy. 

* The late Mr. C. N. Hemy told the writer that subsequently he called on Mr. Sargent, 
at the Cardinal's request, to invite him to make designs for tlie mosaics, but that the 
invitation was declined. 


his invitation and suggested, if the decorative scheme was to be 
discussed, that you also should be present. Doubtless you will 
hear from his Eminence, but will of course not repeat anything 
of this. Let me further add, if you care to come up on Saturday 
we shall be delighted to give you bed and board for as long as you 
please to accept it. With best wishes to you all. 

" Always sincerely yours, 

" John F. Bentley." 

Mr. Symons gladly accepted the invitation and, besides the 
architect, the guests on what should have been a memorable 
occasion included two members of the Academy, Mr. J. S. Sargent 
and the late Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema. As a matter of historical 
fact very little discussion took place, the Cardinal being at the 
moment particularly enthusiastic over the work of a certain German 
mosaicist and apparently anxious above all else to obtain a favour- 
able opinion from those present on some photographs of his pro- 
ductions. Though a unanimous verdict on the absolute unsuitability 
of his style for the cathedral was pronounced, it did not wean the 
Cardinal from the idea of employing this artist on some part of 
the decoration. Fortunately, as fate would have it, the opportunity 
to do so never presented itself. 

An immediate result of the meeting was an invitation issued in 
May to certain prominent Catholics, both laymen and ecclesiastics, 
to submit historical schemes for the decoration of the nave, which 
met with a fairly encouraging response. It must be premised that 
in the nave there are thirty-four wall spaces, measuring each about 
15 ft. by 12 ft., intended to be covered with scenic representa- 
tions in mosaic. Sixteen of these are on the north and south sides 
respectively, and two at the west end. As to single figures, about 
8 ft. high, the faces of the piers, etc., will admit of thirty each on 
the north and south and ten at the west end. For the guidance, 
therefore, of those framing schemes, it was laid down that each 
should include from thirty-four to thirty-eight subjects, and from 
seventy to eighty single figures from our ecclesiastical history. 


Seven lists without commentary were sent in from four 
clerics : the Right Rev. Monsignor Moyes, the Rev. Dom Aidan 
Gasquet, the Rev. Sydney Smith, S.J., the Rev. Herbert Thurs- 
ton, S.J. ; and three laymen, Messrs. C. Boothman, T. Longueville, 
and F. Urquhart. These historical synopses included scenes 
varying in number from thirty-four to forty-nine, and covering 
the landmarks of our island story from the time of the ordination 
by Pope Eleutherius of the earliest British missionaries Fagan 
and Deruvian, sent to Rome by King Lucius to pray for the evan- 
gelization of their country, down to, alternatively, the Restoration 
of the English Hierarchy in 1850, or the opening of the new 
cathedral at Westminster. To these lists their authors appended 
exhaustive symposivims of English saints, from St. Alban, proto- 
martyr, to the victims of sixteenth and seventeenth-century 

The eighth scheme emanated from Mr. Edmund Bishop, who, 
not content with the preparation of a bare list of subjects, increased 
its worth by first laying down the principle that should, in his 
opinion, govern the selection of these subjects. " Shall scenes or 
stories," he asked, " which have no more than a more or less 
feeble legendary authority to warrant them, be included ? Or is it 
desirable to restrict these pictures to events that certainly took 
place ? " His conclusion was overwhelmingly in favour of the omis- 
sion of any scene without a genuine basis of historical fact, and 
interesting though the traditions of St. Joseph of Arimathea and 
Glastonbury, of King Lucius and his embassy to Rome, and other 
such might be, Mr. Bishop felt constrained to pass them over. 

His list, then, beginning with the martyrdom of St. Alban (and 
omitting the whole range of Welsh saints from the middle of the 
fifth century), proceeded to the end of the first chapter of our 
Church history, closing this with the episode of the learned Alcuin 
teaching at the Court of Charlemagne, and presented the outline 
of historical events suitable for pictorial representation down to 
the present time. Like the seven lists already mentioned, however, 
it keeps within the limit of a list and makes no suggestions as to 


arrangement or technique with reference to the areas requiring 
mosaic treatment, and is simply, as they were, a response to Father 
Bridgett's suggestion that a large number of subjects should be 
collected and prepared with a view to selection later to form a 
homogeneous scheme. 

A ninth list, prepared by Mr. Charles Weld-Blundell, was 
arranged with the intention of tracing and displaying for popular 
edification and instruction the close resemblance between the 
methods adopted in the post-Reformation persecutions and those 
employed by the Roman emperors in the early centuries of our era. 
Mr. Weld-Blundell, moreover, brought his scheme to a slight extent 
into relationship with the spaces available in the cathedral, though 
by the use of the word " frescoes " he appeared to think (unless it 
was due to a slip of the pen) that this method of decoration might 
be admissible. He suggests " that the central space inside and 
over the great central door should be occupied by the great central 
Sacrifice, the Crucifixion (reversing the old English practice of 
traversing the chancel arch with a rood screen), the series con- 
tinuing all round till they finish at the same point, with the result 
that (say) three or four of the first or more prominent martyrdoms 
of early Christianity would face at the lower or west end of the 
cathedral four others of Tudor times. . . . The main practical 
difficulty would be to make the meaning of this parallelism obvious. 
This, it seems to me, could be effected if the Byzantine mediaeval 
method were followed, of large gold-lettered legends interspersing 
the frescoes, as e.g. ' Csesarism under the Tudor Kings,' sur- 
mounting the martyrdoms or clusters of martyrs, each in a panel 
with their special description at foot ; or, say, ' Victims of High 
Treason to the Divinity of Augustus' over the early Christian 
martyrs, and ' Victims of High Treason to the Royal Supremacy ' 
over the post-Reformation martyrs." 

Mr. Weld-Blundell says in conclusion : " Much, in such 
matters, must necessarily depend on the height at which the sub- 
jects are placed above the spectator, and the relative position of the 
pictures to one another, so that it seems to me the best plan would 


be to select out of the lists sent in for approval the subjects which 
at once seem to be most important, and also lend themselves best 
to pictorial illustration." 

That a complete pictorial scheme for the lower walls of the 
nave alone should be the first consideration was certainly the 
Cardinal's opinion ; for it is, we imagine, fairly obvious that the 
article on cathedral mosaics in the Tablet of June 17th, 1899, was 
inspired, if not actually written, by him. It is therein stated 
" that the Biblical, allegorical, or mystical treatment of the domes, 
transepts, sanctuary, apse, and side chapels had better be deferred 
for the present." The columns of the Tablet were to be freely 
opened to suggestions for the decoration of the nave. The writer 
of the article insists, however, that one or two of the side chapels 
should be brought to completion by the proposed date of opening, 
September 29th, 1900, and expresses with emphasis the hope that 
some portion of the work may be entrusted to Professor Seitz, a 
German mosaicist " of the newer school," who had then recently 
restored the Borgian and other apartments in the Vatican, and had 
decorated the choir of the basilica at Loreto with mosaic work, the 
gift of the Catholics of Germany. 

We venture to range ourselves in entire disagreement with 
such a piecemeal method of attacking the problem, one which 
could never, one feels assured, bring it within reach of a satisfactory 
conclusion. It seems sufficiently obvious that the rave decoration 
should be not only in intimate relationship with the pictorial 
treatment of the domes, but the complement and corollary of that 
treatment. And, even were it ultimately decided to carry out 
first the lower portion of the work, this could not be attempted, for 
the above reason, with any reasonable prospect of success unless 
and until a complete verbal scheme for the whole pictorial treat- 
ment had been formulated and approved. 

Mr. Dudley Baxter, who submitted a tenth plan at the close of 
the year 1900, evidently was convinced of the truth of this. His 
scheme " combined to portray the Catholic Faith of the Uni- 
versal Church, and to illustrate the glorious history of the Church 


in England and Wales," and accordingly the first dome (west- 
wards) " would illustrate the Creation of the World ; the second, 
the Old Testament and the Old Law ; the third, the Incarnation, 
thus leading in due sequence of time to the Holy Rood of Re- 
demption and the New Law. The fourth dome, overshadowing 
the sanctuary, would appropriately depict the Church and Christ's 
kingdom on earth. The space above the high altar would show 
our blessed Lord in glory surrounded by His immaculate INIother 
and the apostles, while beyond, in the apse, would be portrayed 
heaven and the apocalypse with ' the Lamb as it were slain,' 
and the seraphic host according to the liturgy of the Mass. 

" Then along the walls and arches of the nave and the transepts 
— in opposite sequence of time — the mosaics on either side of the 
basilica, beginning with the second century and near the rood, 
might iliiistrate scenes century after century from the history 
of the first and the second Ecclesice Anglicance, together with the 
martyrdoms and sufferings of the penal days. All along, too, 
figures of our principal martyrs and saints, and also of the popes 
especially connected with England, might be interspersed. Then 
would come, on either side, with the nineteenth century, the 
' second spring ' ; and thus some illustration of the restoration 
of the hierarchy, of Pope Pius IX, of Cardinals Wiseman, IMan- 
ning, and Newman, might be in close proximity to the first chapel 
on the right of the nave, viz. that of SS. Gregory and Augustine, 
the first of the old English hierarchy. 

" Lastly the outer wall of the narthex and the west end of the 
nave might be connected with the Solemn Homage to the Divine 
Redeemer at the commencement of the new century, and with 
the dedication of the cathedral in its opening year : here, according 
to ancient custom, might be represented the builder and the 
architect of the cathedral, viz. his Eminence Cardinal Vaughan 
and Mr. Bentley, while just outside would be the proposed votive 
statue of the Redeemer. Thus, too, the first dome pictured with 
the first century would adjoin the commemoration of the twen- 
tieth, but a series of figures of angels all along the roof and its 


spans would prevent any clashing of illustrations. According to 
custom the nave would represent, as regards its domes, the Old 
Testament, and the choir and sanctuary the New : the attention 
of the worshippers would be led in instructive sequence to the 
high altar, and the Majesty above the great crucifix : at Mass they 
would behold the eucharistic worship of heaven depicted beyond 
the sanctuary, as well as the representation of Calvary's Sacrifice, 
then being renewed on the altar underneath. Finally the whole 
blaze of glittering mosaics would — the nave walls in one way and 
the domes in another — lead the eye up to the Holy Rood, and 
the principal dedication of the great cathedral — the Most Precious 
Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ — surrounded by the patron 

The Rev. Herbert Lucas, S.J., among those invited to frame 
schemes for the mosaic decoration, published a suggestion in the 
Tablet of December 28th, 1901, which was by a very long way the 
most complete of those contributed. By two series of articles 
on " Byzantine Architecture with special reference to the 
Cathedral," and on " Mosaic Schemes of Decoration of Early 
Churches," printed in the same paper in the earlier months of that 
year, Father Lucas had established his right to speak with 
authority, and we propose, therefore, to reproduce, without cur- 
tailment, Ms homogeneous and carefully thought-out scheme with 
its prefatory notes. 

Father Lucas opens by observing that in framing a scheme of 
subjects for the mosaics of the Cathedral the following points 
must be kept in mind : 

"1. A due regard must be had for artistic tradition, based as 
this is on Holy Scripture and on the patristic exegesis of the same. 

"2. A due regard must be had for the architectural features 
of the building. 

" 3. A due regard must be had for the multiple dedication of 
the Cathedral. 

"1. As regards this point it is mentioned here with special 
reference to the idea, which at one time seems to have found 


favour, of choosing, as subjects for the more prominent mosaics, 
scenes from the history of the Church in England. Now not- 
withstanding that this idea had, as I understand, the support of 
so distinguished and venerated an authority as the late Father 
Bridgett, I cannot but think that it would have been a regrettable 
departure from what is here spoken of as ' artistic tradition.' 
There is, so far as I am aware, no instance either actually extant 
or on record of such a scheme of decoration for a great cathedral. 
The idea strikes me as a little — perhaps I should say, more than a 
little — insular ; and insularity is about the last characteristic 
which should distinguish a church which will be, it is to be hoped, 
in a very large sense the heir of the Christian ages. Historical 
scenes, or rather scenes from our national history, might indeed 
be in place in a chapel, an aisle, a gallery of the cathedral ; but 
the place of honour ought surely to be reserved for those mysteries 
of our faith which are of world-wide and age-long significance. 
The history of a national church, however thrilling in its incidents, 
is, after all, only the outcome of certain fundamental and divinely 
revealed truths energizing through a human medium ; and the 
important thing would seem to be to bring and keep before the 
eyes of the faithful of coming generations those same truths 
which were the stay and the support of our own particular ancestors 
in the faith, just as they may have been the stay and the sup- 
port of saints and of faithful men and women in all lands and 
in every age. 

"2. Then, as regards the second point, you cannot treat a 
church whose leading architectural features are a series of cupolas 
with their attendant pendentives, spandrels, and so forth, just as 
if it were a plain Roman basilica of the older type, presenting 
to the hand of the mosaicist a series of rectangular spaces, to be 
filled with a continuous succession of co-ordinate scenes. As the 
structure of the Westminster Cathedral is far more complex than 
that of such a church, so also must its scheme of decoration show 
a more highly organized combination of unity with multiplicity, 
a manifold subordination of subsidiary topics to principal themes. 


just as, architecturally, there is due subordination of secondary 
parts to dominant structural elements. To speak less vaguely, 
each bay of the nave, with all its annexes, should be devoted to 
the expression of some leading idea, and the ideas expressed by 
the several bays should be related to one another in some definite 
and intelligible way. 

" (3) The cathedral, as every one knows, is to be dedicated, 
in the first place, to the Precious Blood of our Lord ; secondly, 
to our Lady, to St. Joseph, and to St. Peter ; and lastly, as 
secondary patrons, to St. Augustine and St. Patrick and all Eng- 
lish and Irish saints. It hardly needs an argument to show that 
some account must be taken of this manifold dedication in the 
drawing up of any satisfactory scheme of subjects for the mosaic 
decoration. Now it is not very easy to combine pictorial references 
to St. Joseph and St. Peter with themes which relate to the Precious 
Blood ; and I venture to suggest that if one aisle be devoted to 
St. Joseph, and the other to St. Peter, the greater surfaces of the 
nave and choir may well be entirely reserved for biblical subjects 
of the kind which have heretofore found a place in the pictorial 
adornment of great and historic churches. These subjects ought 
in one way or another to be brought into subordination to the 
central idea of the efficacy of the Precious Blood. 

" I proceed then to set forth, as I have been invited to do, 
my proposal for the adornment, in the first place, of the nave and 
choir. And I would venture to point out that the general scheme 
may possibly prove acceptable even though many modifications 
in detail may not improbably be deemed desirable. For this 
reason, at the risk of some repetition, I will first sketch the out- 
line, and afterwards fill in the details. 

" First Bay — General Idea, Baptism, whereby, being washed 
in the Blood of the Lamb, we are made children of God and 
members of the Church. With the idea of the new birth in baptism 
may be associated scenes from the mysteries connected with the 
birth and infancy of our Lord. These scenes will answer to the 
verse of St. Thomas's hymn, ' Se nascens dedit socium.' 


Plate XXXIII. — Chapel of the Holy Souls, Altak and Altar-Piece. 
{Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


" Second Bay — General Idea, the Eucharist, the Bread 
of Life and the Cup of Salvation. With this central idea will be 
associated certain miracles of our Lord and certain incidents of 
His public (and risen) life on earth. These will answer to the 
verse, ' Convescens in edulium.' 

" Third Bay — General Idea, the Sacrifice of the Cross. 
With this, of course, will be associated various scenes from the 
history of the Sacred Passion ; and the whole will answer to the 
verse, ' Se moriens in pretium.' 

" Fourth Bay — General Idea, Christ in Glory, entering 
into the heavenly sanctuary, ' not by the blood of goats and of 
calves, but by His own Blood, having obtained eternal redemption ' ; 
and the whole will answer to the verse, ' Se regnans dat in prse- 

" Now for the details. The first cupola would have in its 
centre a circular medallion, on which would appear, on a blue 
ground, a white dove with gold-tipped wings, symbolical of course 
of the Holy Spirit, with the legend, ' This is my beloved Son in 
Whom I am well pleased.' In the four compartments into which 
the cupola might be divided would be represented (1) the Baptism 
of Christ ; (2) St. Philip and the Chamberlain ; (3) St. Peter's 
Vision relating to the reception of Cornelius ; and (4) Saul and 
Ananias. On the faces of the four pendentives would be repre- 
sented the following subjects, viz. (1) Moses striking the rock; 
(2) the waters of Mara ; (3) the impotent man healed at the pool 
of Bethesda ; and (4) the man born blind, healed at the pool of 
Siloam. The treatment of these subjects would, of course, be rather 
suggestive and conventional than realistic, as the position which 
they would occupy seems to require. 

" In the two great tympana under the principal archi volts, 
north and south, would be depicted (1) the crossing of the Red 
Sea, an acknowledged type of baptism and specially suitable as 
suggesting the relation between this sacrament and the Blood of 
Christ ; and (2) the ark on the waters of the deluge, with the dove 
and olive branch. 


" Then, within the lesser bays formed by the secondary arches, 
the following scenes might find a place, four in the north and four 
in the south bays : (1) the Annunciation, (2) the Visitation, (3) 
the Nativity, (4) the Magi, (5) the Presentation in the Temple, (6) 
the Flight into Egypt, (7) the Finding in the Temple, (8) the Holy 
Family at Nazareth. These scenes would occupy the lateral 
walls of the secondary bays, and from their position would admit 
of a more pictorial treatment. The background would be gold in 
each case, but I would venture to suggest that in each bay the 
soffit of the vaulting should have a blue ground, on which would 
be depicted angels displaying suitable texts, or in some other 
way brought into connection with the mystery depicted below. 
Thus above the Annunciation, Gabriel might be shown winging 
his way to execute his high commission. Above the Visitation, 
Gabriel would again appear, displaying the words, ' And behold, 
thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived,' etc., or, ' Blessed 
be the Lord God of Israel, because He hath visited and wrought 
the redemption of His people,' etc. Above the Nativity, the 
angelic hosts would sing, ' Glory to God in the highest,' etc. 
Attendant angels would likewise be in place in the scenes of the 
Magi and of the Flight into Egypt, and the rest. 

" This may perchance seem a crude notion, but it seems, I am 
strongly inclined to think, that simplicity and transparent intelligi- 
bility are desirable, especially in those portions of the design 
which it would require a considerable effort to examine if the 
theme were not quite plain. The blue background in the vaulting 
would, I think, emphasize the effect of aerial distance, and would 
afford an effective contrast to the heavily gilt cupolas. So much 
then for the first bay, with the exception of some accessories to 
be dealt with presently. 

" In the second cupola the medallion would be occupied by 
the Pelican (on a blue ground, as in the case of the Dove), and the 
subjects occupying the four compartments of the cupola might be : 
(1) the washing of the disciples' feet, as symbolizing the disposi- 
tions with which the great gift ought to be received ; (2) the Last 


Supper ; (3) the disciples at Emmaus ; and (4) the scene on the 
shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, from St. John xxi. On the 
pendentives might be figured (1) Melchisedech ; (2) EHas and 
the loaf, from 3 Kings xix. ; (3) the shcw-bread ; and (4) in de- 
fault of a better suggestion, the table with bread and fish, which 
is so familiar an object in the pictorial adornment of the Catacombs. 
On the great tympana would appear (1) the eating of the Paschal 
Lamb, and (2) the Manna. The eight scenes required for the 
secondary bays might be : (1) the miracle at Cana ; (2) the multi- 
plication of the loaves and fishes ; (3) the discourse in the syna- 
gogue at Capharnaum ; (4) Jesus in the Pharisee's house, with the 
penitent sinner at His feet ; (5) the parable of the Great Supper ; 
(6) the parable of the Prodigal Son (with the slaying of the fatted 
calf) ; and (7) and (8) two other parables, perhaps those of the 
Good Samaritan and of the Sower. 

" In the third cupola, the medallion would be occupied by 
the Lamb, and the four compartments would show (1) Judas 
bargaining for the thirty pieces of silver, ' the price of the blood ' ; 

(2) the Agony in the garden ; (3) Jesus before Pilate at the moment 
when the people cry, ' His Blood be upon us and upon our chil- 
dren ; ' (4) the Crucifixion. The pendentives would show (1) 
the murder of Abel ; (2) the sacrifice of Isaac ; (3) the Serpent 
raised aloft in the wilderness ; and (4) the scapegoat. On the 
tympana, north and south, might be depicted (1) Noah's sacrifice, 
and (2) the Inauguration of the Covenant with the sprinkling of 
the blood upon the people. The scenes represented in the lateral 
bays might be (1) the assent of the Jews ; (2) Jesus before Caiaphas ; 

(3) Jesus before Herod ; (4) Christ and Barabbas ; (5) the scourg- 
ing ; (6) the crowning with thorns ; (7) the ' Ecce Homo ' ; 
and (8) the carrying of the Cross. As the lateral bays in this 
case have the full depth of the transepts, these scenes could be 
depicted on a very large scale, or, again, they might be multiplied. 

" The fourth cupola, which surmounts the sanctuary, will 
require a treatment differing somewhat from that of the others. 
Its diameter is less by about 10 ft., and on the other hand it is 


broken up into twelve compartments by the windows which are 
pierced in it, and which will throw its mosaics into a clearer light, 
so that rather more detail can be introduced with advantage. 
Instead of a central medallion, then, I would suggest a celestial 
' glory ' with cherubim and clouds, towards which Christ would 
ascend from the easternmost of the twelve interfenestral compart- 
ments, the other eleven being occupied by scenes from those 
connected with the resurrection and risen life of our Lord, those 
only being omitted which have already found a place elsewhere. 
The following might serve, viz. (1) the sealed Tomb, with Guards ; 
(2) the Resurrection ; (3) the appearance of Christ to the Blessed 
Virgin Mary ; (4) the Maries at the Sepulchre ; (5) Peter and John 
at the Sepulchre ; (6) Christ and Mary Magdalene ; (7) the ap- 
pearance to St. Peter and (8) to the disciples going to Emmaus ; 
(9) to the disciples on the evening of Easter day ; (10) to Christ and 
St. Thomas ; (11) Christ with St. Peter on the lake shore.' Or, if 
it were thought desirable to represent the Ascension in the central 
compartment, then a twelfth subject might be introduced, e.g. 
Christ uttering the words, ' Whose sins you shall forgive they are 
forgiven,' etc. 

" On the pendentives might appear (1) the taking up of Elias ; 
(2) the raising of the widow's son by Eliseus ; (3) the raising of 
Jairus' daughter ; and (4) the raising of Lazarus. (Or, the Vision 
of Ezechiel might be substituted for No. 2.) In this bay there 
are no lateral tympana, but, on the other hand, there is the great 
triumphal arch, over the choir recess, to be provided for. For 
this I would suggest the apocalyptic scene of ' the Lamb standing, 
as it were, slain,' with the four-and-twenty Elders, the great 
multitude of them that were ' signed,' and that other great multi- 
tude, * which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and 
peoples and tongues.' The ' four living creatures ' would also 
demand a place, but they need not be made quite so prominent, 

1 Observe that the scone of " tlie disciples going to Einiuaus " is not identical with 
that of " the disciples at Emmaus " mentioned above. So too " Christ with St. Peter 
on the lake shore " suggests a treatment quite distinct from that of the meeting of the 
apostles with our Lord on the same occasion, also mentioned above. 


or be so realistically presented, as in some early and mediaeval 

"In the apse of the choir the most suitable subject would 
probably be the Coronation of our Lady, and the abundant space 
on the side walls would give ample scope for the representation of 
groups of saints, after the manner of Fra Angelico, 

" In the foregoing sketch, nothing has been said of the designs 
for the soffits of the great transverse arches, three in number. 
Such vaulted svirfaces produce, I think, the best effect when 
treated with medallions set in scroll-work, as at Monreale and at 
San Vitale. On this point I must be content to refer to the 
Tablet of June 1st. But as to the subjects (heads of saints) which 
are to occupy the medallions, it is not so easy to make an appro- 
priate choice. And the same may be said of the full-length 
figures of saints which are to occupy the faces of the great piers. 
Perhaps I might suggest for the first pair of piers St. Augustine 
and St. Patrick, for the second pair, two Virgin Saints of England, 
and Ireland respectively, and for the third pair two Martyr Saints, 
St. Alban and St. Thomas of Canterbury. Then in the soffits of 
the corresponding arches I would place (1) St. Paulinus, St. Aidan, 
St. Columba, St. Wilfrid, as representing the Apostolate of Eng- 
land ; (2) a series of Virgin Saints ; and (3) B. John Fisher, 
B. Thomas More, and other representatives of the English martyrs. 
The connection between the idea of apostolic work and that of 
baptism (first bay), between the idea of virginity and the Holy 
Eucharist (second bay), and between the idea of martyrdom and 
that of the Sacrifice of the Cross (third bay) is perhaps sufficiently 

" Above the narthex is a very broad arch on which St. Joseph 
and St. Peter might appear on either hand, while a larger medallion 
at the summit would naturally be occupied by a figure of our 
Lady en buste. 

" A word, now, on some of the accessory features of the adorn- 
ment of the cupolas. At the base of each a broad band should 
form the base of the whole design. In the first, this band would 


represent flowing water with fish. In the second, sheep would 
browse on a rich pasture. In the third, stags would quench their 
thirst ad jontes aquarum. Above this basal band should run an 
inscription in gold letters on a deep blue ground, or rather a 
series of four inscriptions, appropriate to the four subjects repre- 
sented immediately above. The background of the principal 
subjects would be gold, but that of the medallion at the summit 
should be blue, both as bringing into relief the Dove, the Pelican, 
and the Lamb, respectively, and also as enliancing the sense of 
height. But the blue of these central medallions should be of a 
less deep hue than that which forms the background of the in- 
scriptions, and it should be carefully graded by means of irregular 
stippling in various shades, so as to give the effect of aerial space. 

" In the rib borders, separating the four subjects in each 
cupola from one another, it would be obvious to make use of an 
ivy pattern in the first cupola, a pattern involving ears or sheaves 
of corn in the second, and, of course, the vine in the third. The 
broad face border of the triumphal arch would be treated with a 
richly floriated design, in which the brilliantly plumaged birds 
of the old symbolism would not be forgotten. 

" And here, for the present, I must stop. It would, indeed, 
be premature to offer suggestions for the aisles, unless this scheme 
for the nave and choir should meet with at least provisional 

At this point, too, the discussion of unified decorative schemes 
arrived at a full stop, whence, as far as we are aware, it has 
never since moved. Bentley's death two months later, removing 
his initiative, came as a paralysing blow to progress. But mean- 
while in the three years that had elapsed since the January of 
1899, the subsidiary matter of chapel decoration had passed 
through the era of suggestion and reached a stage of definite 
achievement in which the architect naturally had taken a con- 
siderable share, in spite of his earnest desire that a unified scheme 
for nave and aisles should precede the individual plans for the 
chapels. The difficulties and delays which set back the prepara- 


tion of the major scheme constrained him at last to put forth 
certain suggestions for the auxiHary decorations. 

The first, pubhshed anonymously in the Record of February 
1899, and reprinted with a plan in the Tablet supplement of 
December 29th, 1900, dealt with the Lady Chapel. Father 
Bridgett's scheme for this chapel, which we append in order to 
contrast the two points of view, is framed from the purely historical 
standpoint. Bentley's idea, coloured with his innate love of the 
mystical, embodies a scheme very largely devotional and symbolic, 
in which, we venture to think, is to be found unity of conception, 
conformity with ecclesiastical tradition, and a strict regard to the 
exigencies of situation and material. Father Bridgett was ham- 
pered by a too close adherence to the theme of our Lady's Dowry. 

Bentley's suggestion should be read in conjunction with the 
plan in Appendix D, page 334. 

Scheme for Mosaic Decoration of Lady Chapel 

Apse of Chapel. — Ceiling. — Coronation of our Lady; north, 
Gabriel olive-crowned and bearing olive branch ; south, Michael, 
protector of the Sacred Humanity, carrying a flaming sword. 

North and South. — The nine Choirs of Angels ; soffit, front of 
vault, angels carrying emblems of our Lady. 

Frieze Under. — Demi -figures of Virgin Martyrs, SS. Agnes, 
Cecilia, Catherine, Winefride, Hilda, Margaret, Etheldreda, and 

At back of Altar. — The Annunciation : on each side SS. Anna 
and Joachim ; underneath (small subjects), the Presentation of our 
Lady in the Temple, the Nativity, and the Salutation. 

Altar Frontal. — Seraphim. 

Frieze under Vault. — Demi -figures, types of our Lady, 
Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Ruth, 
Judith, Esther, Hannah, Susannah. 

Soffit of Arch from Transept. — Two sibyls on each side ; 
above, angels playing musical instruments. 


1 . Sibylla Persica, holding a lantern and open book, she having 
foretold the birth of Christ and the overthrow of Satan. 

2. Sibylla Delphica, holding a crown of thorns, prophesied 
that our Lord should be born of a Virgin, and that He should be 
crowned with thorns. 

3. Sibylla Erythrsea, holding a sword, prophesied that a Virgin 
should conceive and bear a son. 

4. Sibylla Cumana, holding a sponge, prophesied that our 
Lord should be born of a Virgin in a stable at Bethlehem. 

On the Vault of the Chapel 

7. Isaiah holding a brazier of 
charcoal : I have foreshown you 
in this lamp of burning charcoal 
the name of the Kingly Throne. 

8. Jeremiah pointing to the 
Divine ]Mother : I have seen 
thee, O Virgin maiden of Israel, 
led forth to tribulation. 

9. Ezekiel holding a gate : I 
have beheld you as the closed 
gate of God. 

10. Daniel holding a moun- 
tain : I have forenamed thee as 
a spiritual mountain whence a 
stone was cut out. 

11. Habakkuk holding a 
shady mountain : I have beheld 
you as a mountain, covered by 
impenetrable shade. 

12. Zachariah holding a 
seven-branched candlestick : I 
beheld a candlestick of gold and 
his seven lamps thereon to en- 
lighten the world. 

6. Solomon holding a throne: 
I have named you a Royal Couch 
predicting you prodigious won- 

5. David holding an ark : 
Gazing on the beauty of the 
Temple, O young Virgin, I have 
forenamed you, O Virgin, the 
holy Ark. 

4. Gideon holding a fleece : 
O pure Virgin, this fleece has 
foreshewn you to me. 

3. Aaron holding a blossom- 
ing rod : This rod has fore- 
shewn to me, O spotless Virgin, 
that you have given birth to the 
Creator, even as a plant to the 

2. Moses holding a bush : 
In a bush I beheld a great 

1. Jacob holding a ladder : I 
beheld you as a ladder planted 
upon earth, etc. 


Compare the above with Father Bridgett's suggestion, which is 
arranged as follows : 

I. Four Archbishops of Canterbury. — St. Dunstan and his 
Vision (see Our Ladifs Dozory, p. 251). St. Ansclm giving docu- 
ment for Feast of our Lady (p. 231). St. Thomas of Canterbury 
receiving from our Lady knowledge of her heavenly joys (p. 66). 
St. Edmund's Espousals (p. 322). If room for fifth, Archbishop 
Arundel might be given promulgating the decree about our Lady's 
Dowry (i. 217), but he is not canonized. 

II. Four Great Sanctuaries of our Lady. — 1. Glastonbury (see 
woodcuts of mine in Gasquet's Abbots). 2. Walsingham (see 
woodcuts in Our Lady's Dowry). 3. St. Paul's, London, singing 
of Antiphon (p. 310). 4. Fountains, present ruins. 

III. Churches in Old London or Old Diocese. — 1. Willesden, old 
Village Church. 2. Our Lady of Barking (near Tower), citizens' 
wives. 3. Our Lady of Undercroft, Canterbury (p. 319). 4. 
Muswell Hill (p. 314). 

IV. England's Consecration and Reconsecration. — 1. Copy of 
old picture in St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster (copies extant). 
2. Scene in Oratory, South Kensington, 1893. 

V. Visions or Scenes. — 1. Abbot Helsius' Vision at Sea (p. 233) 
2. William Longespee's Vision at Sea (p. 233). 3. Henry VI. 
giving Rosary to the Eton Boys (p. 206). 4. The Village School 
in Prioress's Tale. N.B. — In England according to St. Peter Celes- 
tine (p. 170). 5. St. Simon Stock, scapular. 

VI. Writers on our Lady. — Bede, Alcuin, St. Aldhelm, St. 
CElred, Baldwin. (Alcuin and Baldwin not saints.) 

VII. The Burning of our Lady's Statues in London. — See Lati- 
mer {Our Lady's Dowry, p. 307). 

The learned priest added the following notes : " I selected four 
churches to represent our Lady's Dowry for these reasons : Glas- 
tonbury was in the hands of the Benedictines, Walsingham of 
Augustinians, Fountains of Cistercians, St. Paul's of secular 
clergy. There is a special reason for these two, since Fountains 
belongs to the Marquess of Ripon and St. Paul's is in your diocese. 


The description of the antiphon at St, Paul's presents a beautiful 
picture (see Our Lady's Dowry, p. 310). Mr. Brewer ' is a great 
authority on old St. Paul's, and would make a good sketch. If 
you prefer Canterbury to London, the crypt as it formerly was 
would make a good picture. Of course the ruins of Glastonbury, 
Walsingham, and Fountains could be represented as they now are. 
With regard to St. Stephen's, Westminster, it was not part of the 
old abbey : the present lobby of the House of Commons stands on 
its site. It was a great royal chapel and our Lady of the Pew 
formed a side." 

All this is intrinsically interesting and undoubtedly worthy 
of preservation, although there can be no question that Bentley's 
plan was incomparably the more suitable. A glance at the figure 
illustrating it shows that it was made before the change of dedica- 
tion of the two eastward chapels, for the windows in the apse of 
what is now the Blessed Sacrament Chapel are shown. Moreover, 
the broaching of the apse of the south-eastern chapel by the two 
niches is not allowed for. On account of the reversal of position it 
became necessary to abandon Bentley's suggested subjects in the 
apse behind the altar, and to substitute a simpler treatment ; 
which, as we have seen in Chapter IX., Mr. Anning Bell has done. 
We will venture to hope that the rest of Bentley's plan will be 
carried out when the time comes for the designs to be completed. 

Meanwhile the Cardinal had agreed that W. Christian Symons 
should be entrusted with the mosaic decoration of one chapel, 
and Bentley wrote to him accordingly : 

" 13, John Street, Adelphi, 
"March 3rd, 1900. 

"Dear Mr. Symons, 

" Like yourself, but not so severely, I have been very unwell 
and had to keep in bed. I am delighted to hear that you are now 
convalescent, and hope you will be soon in harness again. 

" Some time ago you said you would like to undertake the 

1 The late Mr. H. W. Brewer was the draughtsman who made the interior perspective 
of the cathedral published for the laying of the foundation stone. 


Holy Souls' Chapel. What subjects or figures would you suggest ? 
There will be an altarpiece with a subject over and a subject op- 
posite, both within semi-circles, about 18 ft. across, and figures 
in the ceiling — two would suffice. 

" We must avoid anything pictorial and the drawing must be 
severe and very Greek in character. More anon. 

" Always sincerely yours, 

" John F. Bentley." 

W^ith the artist's immediate suggestion that the story of the 
Three Children in the Fiery Furnace should be represented, 
Bentley concurred. 

" 13, John Street, Adelphi, 
"March 6th, 1900. 

" Dear Mr. Symons, 

" I think you have made a good suggestion — the type of 
Purgatory — but on the space over the altar what think you of 
representing Purgatory itself with St. Michael on the right, leading 
out souls, and St. Raphael (the angel of death) bringing others 
in ? I am not sure about Adam and Eve : I think we may suggest 
something better ; besides, those figures are sure to come in else- 

" In a day or two I will send you diagrams of the chapel. 
In the meantime think the matter out. All I say after, and in- 
cluding this, is on the authority of the Cardinal. Think also 
about the style ; personally I am convinced that for mosaic the 
design should be simple and the style Greek in character. 

" Always sincerely yours, 

" John F. Bentley." 

The suggestion of Adam, as the " old Adam," spade in hand, 
serpent-twined and standing in his open grave, was retained. Eve 
being replaced by the " new Adam," Christ holding aloft the Cross, 
His standard of victory. Otherwise the subjects first suggested 


in this correspondence were adopted.' Mr. Symons was then 
hving at Robertsbridge in Sussex ; but finding it essential to be 
near Bentley and the cathedral, he came to London, and estab- 
lished himself in one of the " Riviera " studios on the river bank 
at Grosvenor Road. Here Bentley was a frequent visitor, advising 
and supervising in the production, first of the sketches, and then of 
the full-size cartoons, and afterwards watching closely over the 
technique of reproduction, when these were handed over to Mr. 
Bridge and his mosaicists at the Oxford Street Studio. It was 
intended to prepare a good deal of the mosaic there beforehand 
by doing it face downwards on canvas, but the plan was not a 
success and was soon given up. 

Bentley, keen to imbue every mosaicist with his own ideals, 
often impressed on them the importance of absorbing the char- 
acteristics of Greek art, urging that all should visit the basement 
at the British Museum for the special pm'pose of studying an 
archaic Venus, as an excellent example of the simple, conventional 
style they were to employ. Moreover, he never tired of emphasizing 
the necessity that every decorative artist should be familiar with 
the possibilities of his material — so that a mosaicist, for example, 
should never make the mistake of attempting to express in solid 
cubes of glass the flowing lines and less simple chiaroscuro of 
plastic art. 

The following remarks summarize Mr. Bridges' recollections 
of many conversations with the architect and epitomize his ex- 
perience gained from the mosaic work executed for the cathedral : 

" I think Mr. Bentley took an interest in me from the first 
interview he gave me, when I showed him a mosaic panel that I 
had designed and executed entirely myself. It was a peacock 
executed in pieces of glass which were simply little lumps broken 
from large lumps, while the plain background was the only part 
worked in the ordinary tesserae, producing an effect which was quite 
out of the ordinary. He then told me he wanted an individual 
to be responsible for the execution of the mosaic — not a firm — 

' See description of the mosaics in the Cliapel of the Holy Souls, page 198. 


and thus a direct personal interest as opposed to the supervision 
of a foreman. He desired moreover that the individuahty, not 
only of the principal, but of each worker should be freely expressed 
in the work, although under one control. As regards material, 
he did not mind whether the fixing medium was water or oil, so 
long as it was the most durable and always providing that the 
mosaic was worked in situ on the walls. It was decided, however, 
to use the oil mastic, since it does not set nearly so quickly as 
water cement and can be worked in for two or three days after 
application to the wall surface. Mr. Bentley came constantly to 
my studio and seemed to be able to teach a craftsman a little more 
about his craft every time he came in contact with him. He did 
not believe in the modern Italian method of working mosaic by 
fixing the tesserae face downwards on paper and then pressing 
them into the cement and beating them flat with wood blocks 
hammered by a mallet, a procedure which renders the work utterly 
flat and lifeless. Moreover in this way the right strength of colour 
cannot be gauged, since the tesserae are matched to the cartoons 
and laid upon the paper under a top light, a light which they do 
not receive when fixed upon the wall. Actually the colour of the 
mosaic must be very much stronger than that of the cartoons and 
the right strength can only be gauged wliile actually working on 
the walls. Further, the cement joints tend to lower the colour, 
and this can be seen at once upon the walls and allowed for. Yet 
another objection to the use of the Italian method is that a mosaic, 
like a picture, requires altering not only while in progress, but even 
at the end to get the right values. To prove all this, imagine a 
figure stuck down on paper surrounded with gold — when the gold 
on back shows green ; when this is reversed on to the wall and the 
gold face exposed, the effect is totally opposite ; since the colovu-s 
of the figm-e, which when in a horizontal position and surrounded 
by shimmering green may look wonderfully beautiful, will be killed 
completely when reversed and surrounded with glaring gold. . . . 
When I began work and asked Mr. Bentley for instructions as to 
the method of execution, he told me to go ahead and translate the 


cartoons into mosaic. We started on the little winged busts of 
the ten Mercies in the Holy Souls' Chapel and these obtaining, 
without alteration, the approval both of Mr. Bentley and of Mr. 
Symons, set the key for the whole of the mosaic in the chapel. . . . 
The Brampton Chapel was executed in mastic by Mr. Bentley's order, 
as Mr. Clayton wished the mosaic worked in the Italian method 
and had the work executed in a manner very different from that 
of the chapel opposite. The whole surface was flattened, and the 
tesserae generally kept to one size, while the gold background, 
without break or variety, was set as though in ruled lines. Hence 
there is an entire absence of freedom in the effect." 

Mr. Symons' s work in the Holy Souls' Chapel has won high 
and generous praise from contemporaries, notably from that 
great artist and friend of his, Mr. John Sargent, and from jMr. 
Robert Ross, the well-known critic, who asserted that " Bentley's 
masterpiece could hardly have been adorned by a more sym- 
pathetic and more appropriately chosen craftsman." 

Between 1902 and his lamented death in 1912, Mr. Symons 
produced the designs for the altarpiece in the crypt mortuary 
chapel, " St. Edmund blessing London " ; the panel of Blessed 
Joan of Arc in the north transept, regarding which we agree with 
Mr. Ross that the technique employed in the mosaic "has hardly 
done justice to the design ; the effect is a trifle garish and com- 
monplace, and the treatment too realistic " ; and the " Sacred 
Face " in the west lunette of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart. He 
had made, in Bentley's time, a design for the tympanum of the 
west front which was not accepted ; and it must be a matter for 
deep regret that no other great opportunity was offered to him. 

In the opinion of Father Lucas the decorations of the Holy 
Souls' Chapel are worthy (with certain reservations) to be taken 
as " providing a sort of norm for the carrying out of the vast 
undertaking of which they are the presage and the overture . . . 
I believe the work which has been done by Mr. Symons in the 
chapel of the Holy Souls to be precisely of the character which 
Mr. Bentley had set before him as his ideal ; and it is my belief 






< „ 

" § 

rt a 

o ^ 

H .S 
H .S 

O S 

Plate XXXVI. — Design fok Mosaic Figuhe ron Chapel ok the Holy Souls. 
The Old Adam (b.v W. r'hri^tinn Symons.) 



that in all the United Kingdom there has not lived a better or 
more competent judge in such matters than he." ' 

The exceptions taken by the distinguished critic concern two 
points on the management of colour in which he differs from the 
artist. He contends that " in treating an arched recess it 
will be found to be a safe principle that there should be a grada- 
tion in depth of colour from arch-face to lunette. The arch-face 
should be made impressive by the prevalence of deep tones, an 
end which in many cases is most easily and effectively attained by 
the simple device of setting out an inscription in gold letters on a 
dark blue ground. Gold and blue would, of course, have been out 
of place in this particular chapel, but at least the great inscription 
' Requiem seternam,' etc., might perhaps with advantage have 
been done in silver letters on a dark ground rather than in dark 
letters on a silver ground. The soffit above the recess should, as a 
rule, I think be somewhat less dark in tone than the arch-face, 
instead of being darker as in Mr. Symons's chapel. The opinion 
which I am expressing is, of course, one which must be tested by 
experiment and observation ; but I have little doubt that a deep- 
toned and bold arch-face and a soffit of which the prevalent hue is 
slightly lighter will be found to afford the best framework for a 
lunette in which the background is to be (as that of all the other 
lunettes in the cathedral will be) of bright and gleaming gold. 
The foregoing remarks must be understood as having reference 
to the relative values in the colour scheme. Looking to absolute 
values, it may be suggested that having regard to the fact that the 
chapel is lighted from one side only, and that on this side it is over- 
shadowed by tall buildings, a generally lighter tone would have 
been desirable." 

It has already been said that the contract for the mosaic 
work in the Brampton chantry was given to the firm of Clayton & 
Bell, by the express wish of the donor. The designs were made by 
the late Mr. J. R. Clayton, head of this firm, which is, perhaps, 
best known all over the country through its production of ecelesi- 

1 The Tablet, November 14th, 1903. 


astical stained glass. Apart from the style of design, there exist 
striking technical differences between the mosaic treatment of this 
chapel and that on the opposite side. The first difference may be 
termed constructive. The two large window recesses, holding 
dovible-light windows, are features common to both chapels, but 
while these recesses in the Brampton Chapel are rounded in 
the mosaic itself, and completely carried out in that material, 
they have in the Holy Souls' Chapel marble facings covering 
the fundamental brickwork, the mosaics only beginning above 
the archivolt. In the former case the rounding of the blunt 
angles in the gold produces the impression that the whole wall is 
constrvicted of this substance ; while, in the latter, the mosaic 
is merely applied ornament, and without constructional signifi- 

This distinction was remarked by a critic of Byzantine archi- 
tecture writing in the Edinburgh Review of October 1904, who set 
himself to prove that the " structural " use of mosaic is the test 
of the Byzantine style — the architecture of " colour," as he terms 
it, in contradistinction to the architecture of form. But he 
admits that Santa Sophia as it stands is a study of form and that in 
Santa Sophia the mosaics have a decorative and not an archi- 
tectural motive, having nothing whatever to do with the com- 
position of the architecture, and being reduced to the mission of a 
mere surface covering. 

It must be borne in mind that Bentley described Westminster 
Cathedral as a " veneered " building — veneered within and with- 
out — and it seems that he was but acting in conformity with this 
principle when he treated his mosaic in the manner of a surface 
covering (finding his precedent in Santa Sophia) rather than as a 
solid building material in which the spectator might be led to 
suppose these arches were turned. 

The second difference between the two Westminster chapels 
has just been referred to and lies in the technique of execution. 
Whereas on the one side we find uneven tesserae, irregularly 
placed and set with wide joints in their cement bed, in the manner 


of the early mosaicists, on the other we are confronted with the 
modern ItaKan style, whose characteristics are precisely the op- 
posite of those we have enumerated. It would be idle to pretend 
that Bentley would have tolerated for a moment such a divergence 
from what he believed to be the true canons of mosaic art. 

In the latter part of 1900, it appears that certain artists whose 
advice had not been sought expressed a desire to be consulted on 
the decoration of the cathedral, and one of their number appealed 
to Sir William Richmond for his support. In a reply which must 
have been gratifying to Bentley as a model of dignity and good 
taste, he says : " I regard Mr. Bentley with the highest respect ; 
he is not only a great architect, but he has a knowledge of the arts 
generally which places him in a very high position. Trust to 
Mr. Bentley — an artist must have free play, or he is hampered 
and his judgment becomes chaotic and confused. If Mr. Bentley 
desires to consult his colleagues upon the subject of the decoration, 
he will doubtless do so. But I could not take any part whatever 
in a movement such as you indicate unless I had Mr. Bentley's 
entire sanction." 

Bentley's reply was to enter forthwith into a discussion on 
mosaic decoration with his champion, who came to dine and to 
talk things over with him at his house in Clapham before leaving 
for Sicily, either in the early spring of 1901 or at the close of the 
previous year. From Palermo Sir William Richmond wrote as 
follows. (It is deeply to be regretted that we have not Bentley's 
interesting reply, which the writer of this memoir believes she 
took down from his dictation.) 

" Gband Hotel des Palmes, Palermo, 
"February 3rd, 1901. 

" My dear Bentley, 

" I have been thinking of you a great deal during the last 
two days, and wondering if your scheme for the decoration of 
your great cathedral is taking root in your mind. Impressions 
are apt to be delusive, so after a day at Monreale and the Palatine 
Chapel, I felt pretty much convinced that the scheme of your 


decoration, generally speaking, should be in a light key and 
that the detail and groups of figures should be uncrowded, and 
that plenty of gold should appear in masses — possibly more back- 
ground than subject. I like the use of silver very much ; there 
is a beautiful effect obtained contiguous with gold, or, rather, 
with blue between, in the Palatine Chapel and superposed, out- 
lined with grey and red, a white horse or ass appears. I think 
the subject is the Entry into Jerusalem, but the effect of colour, 
the white on silver, again both on gold, is astonishingly fine. I 
think you will have to avoid large masses of red, unless you break 
them up pretty freely with rather pale orange tones, getting in 
the lights almost to white. Whatever you do, avoid pure white. 
I notice in all the restored portions both in Monreale and the 
Palatine Chapel, that the white being glaring bounces away from 
the wall in the most unpleasant fashion. Blue, if it is not rather 
amply relieved by light grey, appears black and heavy. Black 
avoid entirely, except in lines. On one side of black red, upon the 
inside grey or cool green, has an extremely pleasant effect ; the 
red seems, while it warms the black, not to reduce its power. If 
you find occasion for quite pure white, and have to do so in dark 
corners, a line of yellow on one side, and a line of red upon the 
other, will help to modify what would otherwise probably appear 
crude. I think you will probably decide in your own mind what 
the whole effect of colour is to be qua mosaic ; and I confess to 
feeling that the general roof effect — i.e. the first impression pro- 
duced upon the eye — is gold. 

" Now comes a question which is not an easy one to decide. 
If you lay your tesserae very near together, you are apt to get a 
brassy rather than a goldy effect ; on the other hand, if you leave 
the joints between the tesserae showing, and they are white, the 
golden effect becomes so modified, owing to the expansion of the 
white, that it can hardly be said to be a golden one. I do not 
think you will be wise to adopt intonaco only of lime and 
sand, or even marble dust. The cement that I have used in St. 
Paul's, I got from a recipe, I think it was, of Simone Memmi, who 


restored the mosaics of Andrea Tafi in the Baptistery at Florence. 
Those mosaics had been set into lime, and before many years 
elapsed had fallen out in quantities, I have had no experience of 
such a calamity, partly because of the cement I used, and partly 
because I insisted upon the mosaic workers ramming the tesserae 
well home. 

" So far for method. Now for scale. I beg and implore you 
not to be led into what always seems to me a vulgar error, that 
size necessarily means dignity. It is an error which grew in Italy 
in base times. I think the great figure of Christ at Monreale is 
stupendously fine, but its majesty is immensely increased by its 
being the only big figure in the church. I question if the largest 
figures in the nave are over 7 ft. 6 in. ; and I suspect that you 
will find 8 ft. quite tall enough for your biggest figures. It is 
amazing how soon a figure becomes colossal after it has measured 
7 ft. 

" I suspect that your apse should dominate over all other 
first impressions. Your difficulty will be in designing a figure 
upon it which will not look odd from midway down the nave, 
because of your curve. The success of the Monreale figure is, I 
think, due to the fact that the curve is so high up, that what is 
drawn upon it is but slightly influenced optically ; but, your apse 
being a low one, your design will be subjected to considerable 
contortion, unless great care is observed and insisted upon by 
yourself, as to the relation of curve on curve. I don't think I 
have ever seen a satisfactory drawing done by an Englishman 
upon a curved apsidal surface, because the fact has been neglected 
or forgotten that to look right it must be drawn wrong ! 

"Do you mean to make your decoration dark on a light base, 
or light on a dark base ? — or do you mean to carry out the same 
quality of tone in both mosaics and marble ? If so I should be 
inclined to use cut-up marble from the same blocks which you 
use for facing, as the tesserae which are to give the governing 
tone to your mosaic ; hence I think you will preserve a unity 
which it would be otherwise difficult to achieve. You will thank 


me too much for this letter, which is not half I mean to write to 
you in time. I can only claim its dictation, a kind hand is doing 
the rest. Do write to me to Posta Restante, Florence, and ask 
me to be of any service to you I can. 

" W. B. Richmond." 

The sole other completed chapel is the Shrine of the Sacred 
Heart, which occupies, as we have seen, the north aisle of the 
Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and is adorned in its western wall by 
the impressive " Vernicle," designed by Mr. Symons. The rest of 
the mosaic, designed by Mr. Marshall, consists of a repetition of 
small conventional patterns on a ground of gold or red. 

It only remains now, we think, to mention the designs for the 
mosaic to fill the tympanum in the western fa9ade. Witliin 
the life-time of architect and founder, several were submitted, 
the first, no more than a slight sketch, being that drawn by Bentley 
for the western elevation of the cathedral published in No. 4 of 
the Record (October 1896). 

Other designs came from ]\Ir. Anning Bell, Mr. Frank Brang- 
wyn, Mr. Symons, and Professor Seitz, a detailed description of 
this last appearing in the Tablet supplement of December 29th, 
1900. It represented the idea of the dedication of the cathedral 
to the Precious Blood. The Cross, raised on a mount, richly 
jewelled and coloured, with the Pelican at the crossing of the 
arms, sends down its streams of Blood and of Water — these bring 
spiritual fertility, life, and happiness to the world. Below are the 
harts, thirsting after the fountains of water, and the sheep and 
lambs feeding upon the precious and life-giving Blood, which in 
streams is carried over the globe. On one side stands the Blessed 
Mother of God in prayer, and on the other, the Keybearer, whose 
jurisdiction is over the whole flock. Above, round the semi- 
circular margin of the tympanum, are the words from the hymn 
of St. Thomas Aquinas : 

Pie Pelicano, Jesu Domine 

Me unmundum raunda tuo Sanguine. 


Such strong objection was taken to this design, on the plea 
that it offered possible ground for the mockery of the irre- 
ligious, that the idea was quietly dropped, and Bentley's sketch 

This pencil sketch, much worn by time, was developed and 
worked out by Mr. J. A. Marshall, of the Bentley firm, in 1907, 
and is thus described : " The central group of figures in the semi- 
circular panel represents God the Son, the author of Christianity, 
attended by the Virgin Mother, and by her spouse, St. Joseph. 
Christ, robed in red and white, is seated on a throne, displaying 
the wounds in His extended hands. Our Lady, on the right, 
robed in blue and white, and St. Joseph on the left in dtdl red, 
stand in attitudes of pensive humility. A cruciform nimbus sur- 
rounding the head of our Lord is displayed against the tasselled 
drapery behind the throne, on which are shown the letters Alpha 
and Omega. To His right, in the extreme left of the panel, St. 
Peter holding his keys is represented, kneeling in adoration, as 
the first bishop of the Christian church. In the opposite corner 
kneels St. Edward, king and confessor, with crown and sceptre, 
holding in his right hand the ring he gave to St. John the Evangelist, 
who, in the guise of a poor man, had begged him for alms. St. 
Peter's robe is of russet and brown, while St. Edward is clad in a 
dress of purple, white, and green. The upper part of the back- 
ground is designed to be a deep blue ; the lower part, representing 
an inlaid parapet of stone, will in general effect be white." 

It will be observed that the two outer figures of saints 
are in a kneeling posture in the above design, whereas in the 
tympanum shown in Bentley's drawing of the western elevation 
they are depicted standing. 

The main idea of tliis design, with certain modifications of 
detail, was finally carried out by Mr. Anning Bell, A.R.A., and 
executed by Messrs. Powell & Co., being completed and exposed 
to view in the early spring of 1916. It contains the five figures, 
placed as above described, but the background is wholly white 
and without any accessories, even the parapet of stone which 


served to give scale to the earlier composition being omitted. 
The colour scheme is a sober arrangement of browns and greys 
with some red for emphasis and a little blue and green. The 
white ground was selected for reasons of durability and visibility, 
gold and blue being both rejected on the score of climatic objections. 
The tesserae employed are of various shapes, mainly oblong, and 
the ground in which they are set is grouted up flush with their 
surface to ensure durability, at the sacrifice of a good deal of tech- 
nical and artistic effect. 



Directly it was announced that the building was a matter to be 
immediately put in hand, money poured into the cathedral coiTcrs 
in what appears a remarkable, indeed an almost miraculous fashion, 
when one remembers the perpetual and heavy demands of charity 
and education on the none too well plenished purses of the Catholic 
body in England, Almost without appeals abroad (with two 
exceptions, 'of which one was only for a specific portion of the 
building) ; without recourse to any of the modern (and deplor- 
able) methods of raising funds by bazaars, entertainments, and 
house-to-house collections ; and, for the first five years of the 
work, almost without any public appeal at all, the marvellous 
collection of a quarter of a million pounds was accomplished. 

Cardinal Vaughan's confidence and inspiration were dauntless. 
He was energized indeed with the Christ-command : Ask and 
it shall be given unto you — ask and you shall receive. None 
could refuse his compelling, his magnetic appeals. As a con- 
temporary writer paraphrased it, amazed at the bold faith of 
his undertaking, " It was not business, it was magnificent." 

And yet behind all this enthusiasm of faith, there was business 
and a sound commercial instinct, without which the venture 
covdd never have been carried through to success. 

The imperial ideal, side by side with, or perhaps rather under- 
lying the Catholic ideal, as presented by Cardinal Vaughan to 
the Catholic people of England, together made a stirring appeal to 
faith and patriotism ; the union of motives so powerful and so 
inspiring could not fail to rouse a prompt and enthusiastic response 
to the needs of the metropolitan cathedral, destined to take its 



stand as the visible embodiment of the Catholic Church at the 
historic centre of the English-speaking countries of the world. 

In the words of the Cardinal to his people, they too desired, 
as ardently as he, that the Empire should " possess in its very 
centre a living example of the beauty and of the majesty of the 
worship of God, rendered by solemn daily choral monastic service, 
as in the olden time within the walls of Canterbury, during a 
thousand years." " We want to announce," said he, " the glad 
tidings of Redemption in our Saviovir's Precious Blood ; to offer, 
without price, the exhaustless treasures of the daily Sacrifice; 
and to give to many a weary soul the peace and hope that silently 
distil under the unceasing melody of the Church's liturgy of prayer 
and praise. We desire that, at least in this immense capital of 
a world-wide empire of power and influence, in this great com- 
mercial mart of human industry, there should arise without delay 
a cathedral fully presenting the cosmopolitan faith and devotion 
of the Catholic Church." 

The wisdom of the Cardinal's appeal to such sentiments was 
abundantly justified — fortified as it was by a scheme whereby 
a more personal interest could be awakened and brought into 
play. It needed not a very deep knowledge of human psychology 
to realize how liighly even the most altruistic appreciate a visible 
and tangible record of their services in any cause ; how individuals 
will rejoice with mild egotism in tliinking of some particular detail : 
" This is my gift to God's service ; this column of rare and 
beautiful marble commemorates one dear to me ; this altar lamp 
makes perpetual mute intercession on my behalf ; this mosaic 
picture or this marble wall represents the sacrifice and self- 
denial of many pleasant things." It is all very human and very 
natural, and, as has been said, the Cardinal gave the oppor- 
tunity for the gratification of such instincts by announcing from 
time to time the cost of certain details of the building, in order 
that benefactors might make a choice according to their means. 
Thus it was shown that a marble column and cap in the nave 
would cost £150 ; one in the sanctuary £110 ; those in St. Peter's 


Crypt cost £90 each ; those in the tribune, being much smaller, 
only £50 each. Fxirthermore, should a donor desire to have a 
part in the actual building of the walls of this national monument, 
this great enduring pile, £33 would pay for 10,000 bricks ' laid 
in cement in the foundations or piers. 

There were, of course, many who preferred to give what they 
could afford without allocating the sum to any specified purpose. 
Special recognition and gratitude, it was announced, was to be 
accorded to these by inscribing their names in a book called Liber 
Vitce, which was to be carefully preserved in the cathedral, and 
honoured according to ancient usage. Three classes of benefactors 
were to be named in this book : 

1. The Founders of Westminster Cathedral, persons who 
have given not less than £1,000 towards the building. 

2. Special Benefactors, those who have given or collected 
not less than £300 within three years. 

3. Named Benefactors, those who have contributed any 
sum not less than £10. 

It was further promised that the names of the Founders 
should be inscribed upon a tablet to be placed in the main entrance, 
begging the prayers of all who enter : that a monthly mass in per- 
petuity should be offered for all the Founders ; that a Requiem 
Mass, within the Octave of All Saints', would be offered for all 
Founders and Benefactors ; and that in the sacristy would be 
placed a tablet, asking for a memento on behalf of all Founders 
and Benefactors, in every Mass said in the cathedral. 

We publish in an Appendix to this volume a complete list 
of the noble roll of founders, the record of whose Catholic 
faith, as Cardinal Vaughan predicted, will be handed down the 
centuries as an example and encouragement to their children's 
children. The names of the founders will also be engraved 
on two large bronze tablets ^ which are shortly to be placed on 
the side walls of the main entrance porch. It is a matter of 

^ The total number of bricks employed was 12,454,474. 

" The roll of founders is temporarily recorded on wooden tablets in the great porch. 


regret that lack of space prevents the putting on record of the 
names of the multitude of others to whose generosity, according 
to their means, the cathedral owes so much. 

At the luncheon on the occasion of the laying of the founda- 
tion stone it was announced that an account called the " West- 
minster Cathedral Account " had been opened in the names of the 
trustees, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Duke 
of Norfolk, E.M., K.G., at the London Joint Stock Bank, 69, Pall 
Mall, S.W., the Hon. Treasurer being the Right Rev. Monsignor 
Canon Johnson, D.D., and the Hon. Secretary Mr. Austin 
Gates, K.S.G.' A statement followed, from which the financial 
position emerged thus : The estimated approximate cost of the 
main structure was £124,000, to which had to be added a further 
sum of £16,000 for fees and contingencies, making £140,000. A 
further heavy liability was the mortgage of £20,000 on the land, 
bringing up the total of the preliminary sum required to £160,000. 
As has been previously noted, the total disbursements on land, 
interest, law costs, and architects' fees from 1867 to 1883 had 
exceeded £44,223. 

In the financial statement of the Hon. Treasurer it was also 
announced that the total amoimt of subscriptions paid or promised 
during the preceding twelve months (since June 1894) — since the 
moment that the Cardinal had begun to " write a few simple 
letters to his friends " — was £55,492. This sum was increased 
to £72,243 by two previous bequests : that of £6,417 15s. 8d. 
from the late Miss E. J. Dodsworth, who died in 1883 ; and by 
the bequest of £11,333 6s. 8d. from Baroness Weld, who died in 
1871, for a memorial chapel in the cathedral. This latter was 
reserved for the building and decoration of the Lady Chapel. 
Actually, £42,870 of this total was in hand. The founders of the 
cathedral at this date numbered thirty-five ; the roll now contains 
one hundred and fourteen names, besides several unnamed donors. 

Eloquent appeals for speedy financial assistance were made in 

* At that time Cardinal Vaughan'a private secretary. He was succeeded by Moa- 
signor Pover. 


the several speeches on this occasion, and with happy results — 
£2,309 being promised during the luncheon. 

Two names, besides those of the Cardinal and the architect, 
seem to be woven into the fabric and the finance of the 
cathedral from its earliest beginnings. Monsignor Canon Johnson, 
Hon. Treasurer to the building fund, was familiar with its every 
detail^ — had watched its rise as it were brick by brick with 
loving enthusiasm — indeed, Bentley, greatly attached to this 
saintly hard-working priest, who returned his affection, used often 
jokingly to say that Monsignor Johnson knew the cathedral better 
than he did himself. To William Antony Johnson, who for over 
forty years had been Diocesan Secretary, and as such the 
intimate confidant of Cardinal Manning's hopes and plans and 
disappointments, the realization of the ideal so long unattainable 
was a source of deep happiness. Appointed Vicar-General in 1904, 
he continued to work, if possible, even more strenuously for the 
good of the diocese. On May 1st, 1906, he was consecrated in the 
cathedral Bishop Aiixiliary of Westminster under the title of 
Arindela, and unfortunately died eleven months later, without the 
happiness of seeing the consecration of the building to which 
he had given such unstinted devotion. 

The second name— or perhaps, as Chairman of the Executive 
Committee, his should have taken the prior place — is that of 
Monsignor Fenton, Bishop of Amycla,' one of the first to whom 
Cardinal Vaughan confided his great idea, asking him to make 
its promotion, thenceforward, the leading work of his life. He 
was installed a canon of the cathedral on the eve of the laying of 
the foundation stone, and became its first Administrator. The 
first Bishop to be consecrated in the cathedral, on May 29th, 1904, 
he assumed the title of Amycla, becoming Bishop Auxiliary to 
Archbishop Bourne ; and three years later, on the death of 
Bishop Johnson, Vicar-General. Besides being Chairman of the 
Executive Committee, he was specially appointed one of the 
collectors for the fund, and it was due largely to his perseverance 

1 He died in 1918. 


and untiring effort that £20,000 was collected within a very short 

Monsignor Fenton journeyed to Rome in 1896, and after an 
interview with Pope Leo XIII, collected there, and subsequently 
in Florence, a large sum of money. On his return he stayed in 
Paris to consult the Due d'Aumale, the head of the French ex- 
Royal Family, regarding the appeal he had drawn up to French 
Catholics, suggesting that to commemorate and as a mark of 
gratitude for the great kindness received in England by the French 
emigres, they should undertake the building of a chapel in the 
new cathedral, to be dedicated to St. Louis. The Duke's reply 
was that if Monsignor Fenton would refrain from publishing the 
appeal, he would himself bring the project before the members 
of his family, in the certainty that they would combine to pro- 
vide the chapel. Unhappily death overtook the Duke before he 
had carried out his plan, and when his representatives were 
reminded of the promise, they replied that he had left no instruc- 
tions concerning this matter. And so there is no chapel to the 
French patron, though Blessed Joan of Arc, the saintly protector 
of his house, has been commemorated and honoured by the 
women of England, in the north transept of the cathedral. 

By December 31st, 1895, nearly £80,000 had been given or 
promised. The list of subscriptions compiled at this date by 
Monsignor Johnson reveals the names of many founders : the 
Duke of Norfolk, with a magnificent gift of £10,000 ; Cardinal 
Vaughan, £5,000 ; Lt.-Col. Horace Walpole, £l,200 ; thirty-two 
donors (three under the veil of anonymity) of £1,000 each, eleven 
of £500 each, and numerous subscriptions of sums ranging from 
2s. to £400. 

Four months later the name of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII 
figures at the head of the growing list of founders ; and to the sub- 
scription list has been added, besides, £5,179 18s. 6d. The pay- 
ments, to April 30th, to contractor, architect, clerk of the works, 
etc., amounted to close on £10,000 for preparing the site, laying 
the foundation stone, and for work on the foundations. The 


Plate XXXVII. — Archbishop's House. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


total outlay on the foundations was about £14,000. The expendi- 
ture continued roughly at the rate of about £800 a month, 
while subscriptions paid or promised seem in the next few months 
of 1896 to have come in at about an equal amount. 

And so the work progressed till at the close of the following 
year the Cardinal found that the monthly liabilities had risen to 
the large sum of £2,500, while the average of the subscriptions 
coming in remained at, roughly, £1,000 a month. Clearly the time 
for a public appeal had come. At an imposing gathering of clergy 
at Archbishop's House on November 5th, 1897, assembled to 
present an address to Cardinal Vaughan on the occasion of his 
Silver Episcopal Jubilee, he took the opportunity to refer to the 
coming celebration, three years thence, of the Golden Jubilee of 
the Restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in England, inviting 
all present to prepare to celebrate it with gifts and generosity and 
sacrifices. And he ended his moving exhortation by an ex- 
pression of hope that these being forthcoming, might accelerate 
the completion of the metropolitan cathedral. 

The Record of January 1898, in publishing this appeal fortified 
by the details of current expenditure, pointed out that the 
mortgage of £20,000 still remained, while the bank balance, 
unless funds were forthcoming, would soon be a thing of the past. 
The total expenditure then was £37,000. Now the lists of moneys 
received or promised, issued by the Hon. Treasurer from 1894 
till January 1898, show a total equal to more than twice the dis- 
bursements ; in fact, the former had almost reached £85,000 (exclu- 
sive of the £12,000 given for the Lady Chapel and moneys collected 
in Spain for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel). We must therefore 
conclude that in many cases " promise had outrun performance " 
and that the cry for help in the Record was directed as much to 
those who had not redeemed their pledges as to the enlisting of 
new subscribers. 

This number of the magazine was its last as an independent 
publication. So many difficulties conspired to prevent its regular 
quarterly appearance, that an arrangement was then entered into 


to produce it in future and from time to time as a supplement to 
the Tablet. These supplements were also to be made up under 
their familiar pale green cover (with its picture of the west end 
differing so markedly from the actuality), and sent to subscribers to 
the Record and to all the benefactors ; but it was not till over a year 
later that the next official bulletin of progress (No. 7 of the Record) 
appeared in this guise in the Tablet of the second week of February 
1899. It records additional subscriptions to the amount of 
nearly £14,600, the names including eight new founders ; and 
announces further that five of the chapels have been provided for 
wholly or in part. 

The money left by Baroness Weld (and now greatly increased 
by compound interest) had long been set aside, as we have already 
noted, for the building and decoration of the chapel of our Lady. 
That of St. Joseph had been promised by Mr. Weld-Blundell ; 
the chapel dedicated to St. Gregory and St. Augustine by Lord 
and Lady Brampton (the former having recently been received 
into the Catholic Church) ; and that of the Holy Souls by Mrs. 
Robert Walmesley. Subscriptions for the chapel of the Blessed 
Sacrament were being collected by the Rev. Kenelm Vaughan, the 
Cardinal's brother, who in 1896 began to traverse Spain begging 
from door to door for this chapel of " expiation and adoration, 
dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, as the gift of the Spanish 

The title of " Fundadores del Sagrario" (founders) was be- 
stowed upon donors of £50 and over ; 1,500 pesetas (nearly £60) 
being the actual amount of the highest individual subscription 
received. The scheme was taken up and warmly recommended 
by the Bishops of Spain, the Archbishop of Seville leading by 
becoming a founder ; and the Royal Family also gave generously. 
Father Vaughan in something over two years gathered about 
£3,980 ; the war with the United States then broke out, and he 
started for the Spanish-speaking provinces of South America, 
there to continue the work of piety. The Archbishop of Buenos 
Ayres received him with open arms and addressed an enthusiastic 


pastoral letter, recommending Father Vaughan's mission to all 
his flock, and desiring them to contribute to the Blessed Sacra- 
ment Chapel Fund as though they were giving to a work of their 
own nation. 

Through eleven years of toil and hardship, eleven of the best 
years of his life, Kenelm Vaughan never faltered. It was estimated 
that about £13,000 ' would be needed for the construction and 
decoration of the chapel ; but his aim went far beyond that. 
Proposing that in the Chapel of Expiation perpetual exposition 
and special services should be carried out all the year round, he 
intended to continue collecting until he had a sum sufficient to 
produce the income to meet the necessary expense. Begging 
thus from door to door, from State to State, he ultimately came 
home with the net sum of £18,634, due (with the exception of a 
few small offerings from friends in England) to the generosity 
of the Spanish races, awakened by his wonderful enthusiasm and 
devotion. He only survived his exertions for two years, dying on 
May 19th, 1909. 

The eighth number of the Record published with the Tablet 
of May 13th, 1899, announced that moneys actually received 
since June 1894, amounted to £100,848 ; and pointed out that 
not all of this sum was available for general building expenses, since 
some of it had been ear-marked for specific purposes. Labour, 
materials, and fees had absorbed up to date £88,367, and though 
the building was not yet roofed in, the architect expected that 
this would be accomplished by the end of the year. 

In view of the heavy expense to be incurred in constructing the 
domes and vaults, the balance in hand of the building fund was 
all too small, and it was felt that the time had come to frame an 
appeal to the great mass of the people, who had not yet been 
invited to make their offerings. This was effected by means of a 
joint pastoral letter from the suffragans of the Province, which, 
dated June 24th, 1899, received the signature of fifteen bishops, 
and was appointed to be read in all the churches of their 

1 This estimate has been very greatly exceeded. 


dioceses on July 2nd, 1899. The subsequent chuieh collections 
realised £3,496 lis. 4d., a very substantial help towards the com- 
pletion of the fabric. The subscriptions announced in the ninth 
issue of the Record, dated June 14th, 1899, amounted to £4,264. 

At the close of the last year of the century the building was 
externally almost complete. True, the campanile had attained 
but 182 ft. of its total height of 273 ; some of the side chapels 
were still unroofed, and the turrets of the great western staircases 
were incomplete ; still it was possible to gain a very good idea of 
the general effect without. For some time past the public had 
been admitted to view the building, a charge of 6d. a head being 
made at a turnstile placed near the western entrance. The scene 
inside the cathedral at that period was imposing in its rugged 
grandevu ; the eye was drawn irresistibly upwards to the wide 
saucer-like circles of the flat domes crowning the nave, and then 
on to the brilliantly lighted sanctuary dome and the noble sweep 
of the apse beyond. The marble columns, the great masses of 
brickwork, the staircases and galleries alike served to whet 
curiosity and increase the interest already .roused by the unfamiliar 
style of architecture, and brought many visitors, whose sixpences 
went to swell the building fund to good purpose. Actually 
about £3,109, clear of expenses, was realized in this way in the 
eighteen months after the roofing in of the church. 

The tenth number of the Record in the Tablet of December 29th, 
1900, gives a further increment of subscriptions given or promised 
during the previous six months, totalling £18,720. This included 
a second contribution of £5,000 from the donor of the Holy Souls' 

A year and a half elapsed before the next issue, in June 1902, of 
the bulletin of progress, a Record in which melancholy prominence 
was given to Cardinal Vaughan's panegyric of the deceased archi- 
tect, who three months earlier had laid down his pencil for the 
last time. The thirteenth centenary of St. Augustine's landing 
had come and gone, and the cathedral, to the bitter disappointment 
of many, was not yet opened for public worship. 


The explanation of the delay was to be found in the Cardinal's 
leading article, under the title, " When will the Cathedral be 
opened ? " He replied : " As soon as it shall be possible to give 
it over, in fee simple, to God, by the liturgical act of consecration. 
For this it must be absolutely free of debt. At the present mo- 
ment it is not free. Outstanding liabilities actually exceed the 
money in hand. To meet these obligations and to complete 
structural and other works that must precede the consecration, 
it is estimated that a further sum of £16,000 will be required. We 
must collect this amount, with all speed, or stop the works. The 
date of the consecration and of the formal opening depends upon 
this. By means of the splendid charity of many founders and 
benefactors, and of the sum allocated by the Charity Commissioners 
from the sale of St. Mary's, Moorfields, to the extinction of the 
mortgage, and to the building fund, the shell of a spacious, 
massive, and imperishable cathedral has been built, upon a site 
absolutely free." 

W^hen the Cardinal had provisionally fixed September 29th, 
1900, as the date for the consecration and opening, he had ex- 
pressly pointed out that it was money, not time, that was wanting 
for the achievement of his purpose. The long delay of its realiza- 
tion saddened the last months of his life ; in prophetic vein ' he 
closed the final appeal : " It is no longer the question of the 
morning, Is it prudent to set out upon the gigantic task of building 
in Westminster a worthy metropolitan cathedral ? You have 
answered that question. You have bui t the cathedral. The 
question now is, Shall a last effort, a last sacrifice be made to 
complete and consecrate it to God before the nightfall ? Founders 
and friends must decide. It is needless to labour an appeal with 
a string of motives that are all too obvious. Suffice it to say, 
that this is my final appeal for the building fund — that there 
will be no further call upon you for the building fund in our 
life-time, if the sum now asked for be obtained." 

The sum granted by the Charity Commissioners from the sale 

^ Cardinal Vaughan died on June 19th, 1903. 


of the Moorfields property was £48,555. The receipts by subscrip- 
tions from December 25th, 1900, to May 20th, 1902, amounted to 
£7,035, exclusive, of course, of further contributions by Father 
Kenelm Vaughan towards the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, bring- 
ing the total of general subscriptions received or promised 
up to date to £148,699. 

With Cardinal Vaughan's death the Westminster Cathedral 
Record ceased to exist, and the work remained without any official 
organ for foiir and a half years. In January 1907 appeared the 
first number of a new venture, one that has been blessed with 
a steady existence and large success. This is the Westminster 
Cathedral Chronicle, planned and edited by the present Adminis- 
trator, Monsignor Canon Howlett, D.D., and issued monthly. 
Its piirpose is to record works projected, begun, or accomplished 
in the cathedral, to chronicle the ceremonies and sacred events 
from year to year, and to meet a strongly felt want for an official 
organ to keep the clergy in touch with the laity, and to make 
known the cathedral work and needs to those at a distance. This 
monthly magazine, well illustrated, has amply fulfilled the inten- 
tions with which it began, and has noted from time to time dona- 
tions for special purposes in the work of decorating and completing 
the building. But since that last list of general subscriptions in 
the Record of June 1902, no further list has been published. 

From the Archbishop, in the first number of the new magazine, 
an explanation was forthcoming as to why the collection of funds 
had appeared to be stagnating during the first years of his tenure of 
the see. " It was," wrote he, " of set purpose, taking into account 
the great effort of generosity put forth for so many years, and the 
other even more pressing claims upon the resources of the faithful, 
that no special appeal has been made, since the opening of the 
cathedral, for the funds which are required for the completion of 
the fabric." By this date (January 1907) £235,420 had been ex- 
pended, and on the general building account there was a deficit 
of £8,391, temporarily covered by a loan at 3| per cent. 

To the dismal forebodings of the prophets of failure who had 


said that the cathedral would be a mere monument of extrava- 
gance, the packed congregations at all the services, morning, 
afternoon, and evening, all the year round, afforded the most 
eloquent answer and encouraged the authorities to ask that this 
remaining debt should, by a new burst of popular generosity, be 
speedily liquidated. The announcement of the forthcoming date 
of consecration (June 29th, 1910) in the February of that year gave 
added weight to the Archbishop's appeal for £7,000 to clear off 
what was still owing, a sum that must be paid before the ceremony 
could take place. A great and final effort was made, and by the 
night of April 30th every farthing had been subscribed, and the 
cathedral structure stood entirely free from debt, over a quarter 
of a million sterling (£253,666) having been expended up to May 
1st, 1910. 

With regard to the maintenance of its service, a very heavy 
charge upon the future. Cardinal Vaughan had, as there has already 
been occasion to mention, foreseen and made provision almost 
before he set out to build. He had given generously from his own 
resoiirces, and had obtained from the Holy See the definite assign- 
ment to the cathedral maintenance of certain funds, the income of 
which had previously been left free for the disposal of the reigning 
Archbishop. Cardinal Vaughan wrote on the subject three days 
before his death to one of his executors : " Your fears that the 
maintenance of the serving of the cathedral will not be effected 
by the provision I am striving to make for it, chiefly from my own 
resources, are not exhaustive. I have always held in reserve a 
large proportion of the cathedral property for letting, and so 
bringing in a good income. If this could be avoided, I thought, 
all the better. But failing other resources you have an easy 
income coming in." 

As a matter of fact, the income is not sufficient without letting 
the surplus land. This important site has been in the market now 
for some years, but the authorities have received no suitable offer 
to justify disposing of it on building lease. If the land were 
left vacant and laid out as a garden, which from the aesthetic 


view-point would be most desirable, a further capital sum of 
not less than £30,000 would have to be provided to add to the 
endowment provided by the Cardinal builder. May some generous 
millionaire be inspired thus to beautify the cathedral precincts ! 

Much generous giving will be needed ere the day when the 
interior decoration of the cathedral shall be completed, a great 
day that we may hope oxu: children's children will be privileged to 
see. By the piling up of little gifts it may sooner be effected ; 
indeed the authorities look for its accomplishment rather through 
small and numerous donations, than by means of the great and few. 



Archbishop's House: Introductory — Preparation of site — Plan — Elevations of 
faQade and side — Basement — Ground floor — Porch — Grand staircase — First floor 
— Roof garden — Second floor — Third floor — Throne room — Library — Reception 
room — Chapel. Diocesan Library : Dimensions — Plan — Lighting — Fittings — 
Galleries — Contents — Cloister — Dimensions — Arrangement — Purpose. Cathe- 
dral Hall : Plan — Construction — Fenestration — Decoration — Fa5ado and roofing 
— Entrances — Main porch^Staircase — Galleries — Secondary porch — Bridge from 
cathedral apse — First Mass in hall. Choir School: History of foundation — 
Directors — Endowment — Church music — Choir School built. Clergy House: 
Ihirpose — Frontage and entrance — Garage. 

In May 1899, it was announced to the Catholic body that a Diocesan 
Hall and Library, with a new residence and administrative offices 
for the Archbishop, were in process of erection at the east end of 
the cathedral, and that, with the exception of the Diocesan Hall 
and cloister, no part of their cost would be borne by the Cathedral 
Fund, At the same time it was made clear that separate con- 
tributions for these works, so vital to the satisfactory working of 
both diocese and parish, would be gratefully welcomed. The sale 
of the gloomy house in Carlisle Place, which, as a temporary 
expedient, had housed the Archbishops of Westminster for over 
a quarter of a century, since its purchase by Cardinal Manning 
in 1873, was expected to provide the major portion, at least, of 
the sum required for the new building. 

The Cardinal wrote to Bentley in July 1898, when instructing 
him to prepare plans of the house : " I cannot think of going 
beyond an outlay of £20,000 in cash for housebuilding : but I 
can borrow as much more as I can find interest for — interest and 
gradual repayment of capital — out of rents coming in from flats 
and apartments. It would be therefore well to bear this in 

1—18 273 


mind, and to make a plan that can be carried out at once, if 
business considerations allow. This would be far more satisfactory, 
in a business point of view, if money be borrowed, than building 
piecemeal. . . . The sale of the house is complete, and we must 
leave it in two years from July 1st." 

Selection was made of the waste ground lying beyond the north- 
east termination of the cathedral, in order that the new pile might 
extend a convenient and dignified frontage along Ambrosden 
Avenue. The preparation of the 300 ft. of site, superintended 
in the early summer months of 1898 by the clerk of the works, 
Mr. Tet, was no light task ; beneath the accumulated soil lay 
part of the concrete foundations of the old prison, with quantities 
of the bricks, set fast in Roman cement, that had once footed its 
walls. The labour involved in the clearance of these bricks and 
other rubbish may be easily imagined; the concrete, naturally, being 
allowed to remain, to be utilized in the new foundations. 
Bentley's plans were completed by September 1898, and the 
contract was signed by Messrs. Shillitoe & Sons, the cathedral 
contractors, towards the close of the year, work beginning as soon 
after as weather conditions permitted. 

As regards the main outlines of the plan, an asphalted court- 
yard separates the eastern end of the church from the block 
of auxiliary buildings, which are however united to it by two 
raised and covered bridges, of which more later. The Diocesan 
Hall runs north and south at practically right angles to the 
cathedral termination. The library is embodied in the plan of 
the house, which, as wc see, is quadrangular in form, and built 
round a central courtyard, the main portion, the two wings, and 
the cloister forming its four sides (Fig. 28). 

The total frontage measures 188 ft., making with the cathedral 
a continuous pile of buildings with a length of about 560 ft. The 
depth of the central part of Archbishop's House is 54 ft., with a 
central back extension up to the first floor of a further 22 ft. of 
depth. The right, or library wing, is carried back for 94 ft. to 
meet the cloister, whose breadth (external measurement) is 14 ft. 


The left wmg, brought forward 8 ft. on the frontage, extends to 
a total depth of 116 ft., the courtyard of the interior thus sur- 
rounded having a max»mum breadth of 40 ft. and length of 76 ft. 
It must be understood tliat the measurements of the left wing are 
relative to Bcntley's original plan, as illustrated ; since Iiis death 
it has been extended and altered by the addition of the Clergy 
House, producing a considerable increase in the length fronting 
Francis Street. Behind the cloister, and united to it about 
midway, now rises the Choir School, in place of the monastery 
originally destined to occupy a similar position. 

Variety to the composition of the fagade is given by the slight 
advancement of the left wing ; while balance is attained by a 
similar projection of the Chapter Hall, whose external length is 
thus (since the cloister occupies the 14 ft. of space beyond its 
apse) 102 ft. 

The style of the buildings is in harmony with that of the cathe- 
dral, though reduced to the plainest components, expressed in the 
same dignified combination of red brick and Portland stone. Here 
are no colonnades, no carved swags or medallions, no decorative 
chimneys. The simplest mouldings, allied to the fine proportions 
of windows and portico and the little domical lead-roofed turrets 
at either end suffice to produce, in the case of the house, an im- 
pressive and satisfying effect. The photograph (Plate XXXVII) 
reveals better than any verbal description the extreme severity 
and reticence of detail. This restraint was due in some measure 
to Cardinal Vaughan's oft-reiterated instructions to the architect 
to design for him the plainest possible dwelling. He went so far 
as to produce a rough plan himself, though he admitted he was 
" not wedded to it," and Bentley's, naturally, prevailed. 

The Cardinal would have liked to combine in some fashion a 
reception room, 50 ft. long, with the Diocesan Hall, making it 
capable of enlargement by communication on one side with the 
hall, and on the other with mezzanine or 12 ft. higli rooms which, 
he thought, would be quite high enough for the ordinary reception 
of individuals, etc. Bentley's conception of a suite of lofty rooms. 


with a combined length of 100 ft., in addition to the hall, was, in 
the Cardinal's opinion, extravagant and unnecessary. So he wrote 
in August when the plans were in hand. Bentley could be as 
inflexible as Vaughan when convinced that he was right, though 
his opposition was ever tempered by an enormous respect for 
the dignity of a Prince of the Church. He evidently succeeded 
in convincing the Cardinal that the balance of wisdom and practic- 
ability lay on the side of the large and independent suite of state 

When it came to the elevation, however, the Cardinal was yet 
more concerned to have his own way in the matter of economy. 
" I am afraid of features," wrote he ; " they run into money, and 
are always devoid of that severe simplicity which I want in Arch- 
bishop's House," This ruthless determination to deny the archi- 
tect any indulgence in decorative details seems to have resulted 
in little satisfaction to the Cardinal, who complained bitterly that 
his house was the ugliest in London. That, in spite of the limita- 
tions imposed upon him, Bentley succeeded in avoiding failure 
and produced a fine result, we think most people will admit, and 
there need be no fear that posterity will endorse Cardinal 
Vaughan's opinion. 

Archbishop's House 

As regards the main portion and the anterior part of the right 
wing, the residence thus unpretentiously styled consists of four 
storeys ; the left is carried one floor and part of another higher. 
The central feature of the fa9ade is the stone porch beneath the 
wrought-iron balcony of the throne room windows. The entrance 
arch of this vaulted porch is borne on two pairs of engaged coupled 
shafts, raised on pedestals, and crowned with capitals of Roman 
Ionic form. The courses of inch-thick bricks inserted between 
those of the stone piers arc very effective. Tall and relatively 
narrow openings in these side walls give light to the interior, the 
porch being 8 ft. deep and 12 ft. wide. The roof is covered 




i W 





< -^ 

O :~; 


§ s 

K 2 

: X 

- X 

) H 


■' < 

I h-1 

Plate XL. — 1'kivate CuArEL, iViiciiuiisHur s Holse, 
{Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 



with cast lead, with the usual welted rolls. Seven steps within 
the porch lead up to the hall, on the so-called ground-floor level, 
whose commonplace doors of varnished oak obviously never 
passed Bentley's critical eye. 

The Cardinal, with the above-quoted dislike of " features," ob- 
jected to the design of the porch, and sought to replace it with what 
he termed " a really useful and characteristic thing ... a great 
covering or roof projecting right across the side way under which 
all would be safe from rain, and it would be visible from both 
ends of the street and might be made quite light and free of affecta- 
tion. It would also cost less than a structural affair." Here, 
we may imagine, Bentley refused to be further coerced, and his 
porch design was allowed to stand, with the charming little 
wrought-iron balcony above it, borne on six lion-headed corbels. 

At the basement level the fayade is built in horizontal banding 
of brick and stone, five courses of the small red bricks alternating 
with a single course of stone. Thereafter the walls are of brick 
with stone window-dressings for two storeys until the plain stone 
frieze above the stately range of first-floor windows is attained. 
Above this is the projection of the stone corbel table. In the top 
storey there is a reversion in part to the banded treatment, the 
buttresses being thus constructed, the remainder of the walling being 
in plain brick, and the stone coping narrow and of slight weather- 
ing. The features of this top storey are the three large semi- 
circular windows and the charming little end turret. The left 
wing being flush with the pavement, and therefore unprotected 
by railings, has, like the Diocesan Hall, a stone plinth of nine 
courses, and is continued in plain brick up to the coping. The 
single window in the front on the first floor with a little wrought- 
iron balcony, borne on stone corbels similar to those of the great 
balcony, is that of the Archbishop's private room. A gabled roof 
of low pitch covers the single room on the top floor of this 

The side elevation to Francis Street possesses several charming 
details, notably the stone oriel windows at the termination of 


the main ground-floor corridor, and the similar window in the 
Archbishop's bedroom above. The windows of the second and 
third floors are set within arches of fluted brickwork in very 
effective fashion. Further to the left is the deep archway of brick 
opening into a passage in line with the sub-cloister, which forms 
the tradesmen's entrance to the domestic offices ranged around 
the flagged courtyard of the interior. Above this entrance 
archway we get a view of the apsidal end of the private chapel, its 
little semi-dome with a stone cross almost hidden behind the 
broad stone coping of the apse wall. 

The Clergy House is, as we have seen, a continuation of this 
wing ; but it is carried up to four storeys only. 

The roofing of Archbishop's House consists for the most part 
of asphalted flats. Exceptions are the Diocesan Library, the 
fourth-floor attic of the left wing, and a stretch of just over 
30 ft. of roof in the central part of the same, all of which have 
roofs of low pitch covered with small greenish slates and lead 

A most pleasing coup d'ceil of the various forms and levels of 
roofs and windows mingled in effective grouping may be obtained 
from points of vantage on the cathedral's eastern roof. First and 
nearest to one's gaze comes the low-pitched covering of the Diocesan 
Hall, with its asphalted semi-dome ; then that of the library ; 
further yet in the centre one sees the outline of the triple-bayed 
landing of the great staircase, with its double row of casements ; 
opposite in the left wing the low turret of a circular stairway, and 
the great segmental window of the private chapel ; and, on the long 
line of the cloisters to the right the green relief of a garden, 
with evergreens in tubs set upon its level roof. On the extreme 
left lie the flats of the main part of the house, while most distant 
is the stretch of slated roof in the Francis Street wing. 

Reference to the basement plan shows that this is allotted as 
regards the main part and the left wing entirely to domestic 
purposes ; the right wing being occupied by the extension of the 
Diocesan Hall and a large cloak room and heating chamber. A 








corridor, 10 ft. wide, runs centrally the whole length of the house, 
and unites with the corridor of the left wing, 7 ft. 6 in. wide, 
which terminates at its other end in the passage to the tradesmen's 
entrance. In the centre of the house are housekeeper's and 
butler's rooms, servants' bedrooms, wine and beer cellars, store 
and strong rooms, lavatory accommodation, and a passenger lift. 
The wing contains servants' hall, larder, serving room with service 
lift, kitchen, scullery, and tradesmen's entrance. A short flight of 
steps leads to the sub-basement, beneath these two last, where 
coal cellarage is provided. Communication with the upper floors 
is effected by means of two stairways to the entrance hall, and a 
staircase in the wing. 

The offices of the basement abut on to the paved courtyard, 
having on its further side the open arcading of the sub-cloister, 
whose range of six red-brick arches affords a delightful prospect, 
though unfortunately the space within is used for storing ladders, 
wood, and various kinds of jetsam. Its ceiling is cross vaulted 
in concrete, its floor paved with stone. The door at the end on 
the right leads through a deep brick-vaulted porch to the asphalted 
walk at the east end of the cathedral, while directly opposite 
is the sacristan's entrance to the cathedral offices. 

The ground floor of Archbishop's House is largely devoted to 
the secretariat, the whole range of front rooms to the left of the 
hall being thus utilized. On the right is a waiting-room, and the 
librarian's room, now used also as the meeting place of the cathedral 
chapter and measuring 25 ft. in length by 21 ft. in breadth. It is 
separated from its bookcase-lined antechamber by a screen of oak 
and glass. The wooden model of the cathedral is kept here. 
On the opposite side are the great doors of the Diocesan Library. 
The main corridor runs the whole length of the house, and ends 
in the fine bay already observed in the side elevation. Its ceiling 
is cylindrically vaulted, as are those of the other corridors, and 
its walls are painted with a plain high terracotta-coloured dado. 
The opening to the passage of the left wing was bricked up to 
isolate it when the addition of the Clergy House was made. On 















the inner side of the corridor are waiting-rooms, cloak-rooms, and 
lavatories, occupying the central extension : the left wing accom- 
modates the serving, dining, and common rooms of the cathedral 
clergy, shut away from Archbishop's House by the aforementioned 
walling up of the lateral corridor. For this reason the only way 
now from the house into the cloister is through the Diocesan 

Entering Archbishop's House by the porch in Ambrosden 
Avenue, one finds oneself in a lofty hall, 17 ft. square, containing 
a minor lobby 7 ft. square screened with oak and glass at the 
front door. The flat ceiling of the hall is supported on massive 
beams, and is whitened ; the walls have a high panelled dado, and 
are coloured pale terracotta above it for a certain height, the 
remainder being creamy white. The hall obtains light from the 
tall narrow windows on either side of the door, and from one above 
it of horseshoe shape, also with leaded glazing. 

A flight of eleven stone steps brings us to the level of the 
ground-floor corridor, which at this point has a flat ceiling like 
that of the hall, carried on four pairs of stone columns. The 
shafts of these columns are painted pale green, their bases and 
caps are uncoloured, the echinus and abacus being of very slight 
height and projection. The first pair of columns, 8 ft. apart, 
stands at the head of the hall stairway, the second pair is placed 
on the further side of the corridor, i.e. at a distance of 10 ft. ; the 
third and fourth pairs are placed at intervals of 5 ft., the last 
being at the foot of the main staircase. Fluted pilasters, painted 
green like the pillars, carry the ends of their architraves. The 
six latter columns rise from a very low podium projected from 
the adjoining wall. 

The staircase is single as far as the first landing, whence it 
breaks into two parallel flights, ending at the corridor of the first 
floor. Very effective is the arrangement of the landing, ceiled 
with a vault and projected in three bay windows. The lateral 
bays are bowed and brilliantly lighted by a double row of 
three-leaded casements. The central bay is rectangular and 


contains three lights, set beneath a glazed lunette. A pair of 
columns on the landing at the head of the stairs, and another pair 
in the corridor above, all painted a dull terracotta, with white 
bases and Ionic capitals and light green pedestals, carry the 
transverse cylindrical vaulting over the staircase, which receives 
further light from a semi-circular window set in the lunette on 
either side. The vaulting and arch soffits are white, the walls are 
painted in cold tones of light and dark green, with vertical chevron 
banding in dark green and white on the landing. The central bay 
is carried out in a yellower shade of pale green. 

The treads and risers are of stone, while the landing floor is laid 
with a durable composition of marble fragments set in cement, 
which is used also in the corridors. The photograph of the stair- 
case reveals how extremely poor and common are the handrails ; 
one may hope that they are but a temporary expedient. It also 
shows one of the ceils -de-boeuf lighting the cloak-rooms beneath 
the staircase (Plate XXXVIII). 

The light and graceful effect of the staircase as designed by 
Bentley has been greatly diminished by the filling up of the 
arcading on the corridor of the first floor. The oaken screen, 
which thus completely shuts off that part of the house reserved to 
himself and his entourage, was added by the present Archbishop, 
Cardinal Bourne, and was designed by Mr. J. A. Marshall. There 
is no objection to the screen per se ; one merely regrets that it 
should have been found necessary thus to cramp and limit the 
vista of the grand staircase from the state rooms, to which it 
afforded a dignified approach. Double doors at the head of each 
flight now admit the visitor, upon ringing, to these and to the 
Archbishop's private apartments. 

Entering the 12-ft. wide vaulted corridor, one is confronted 
with the two double doors of the throne room ; their jambs and 
architraves are white, the panelled doors being painted a pale sage- 
green. At the end of the corridor, on the left, there is a similar 
doorway, though of oak, slightly polished, which is the entrance to 
the private library. A window, consisting of two leaded case- 












ments beneath a semi-circular light, occurs on right and left of 
the entrance doors. The corridor is 53 ft. in length to the arch on 
the right, whence one passes into its prolongation of 8 ft. under a 
transverse vault, in which occurs the entrance to the Archbishop's 
reception room. Thereafter narrowing to a width of 6 ft., it 
contains the second door of the reception room just before its 
point of junction with the corridor of the left wing. 

Turning to the left, one comes to the Archbishop's sitting-room 
and bedroom ; to the right, and up four steps, are successively the 
two rooms allotted to his private secretary, a staircase, the private 
chapel and sacristy, and the corridor of the newer building, viz. 
the Clergy House. Here one must observe a departure from 
Bentley's plan ; the apartment intended by him to be the sacristy 
has now become a continuation of the corridor, to link up the two 
buildings, a new sacristy having been added, built out on to the 
flat asphalted roof of the cloister. From this sacristy, ceiled with 
a vault, one emerges through a narrow doorway on to the cloister 
roof-garden with its shrubs and flowers, a pleasant spot in which 
to take the air, screened from the public gaze and within range 
of a superb view of the cathedral's beautiful east end. The Arch- 
bishop's dining-room is now in the new building. 

The stairway passed on the right in the corridor just described 
— whose walls, by the way, are coloured pale green, and the doors 
Venetian red — ascends to the second floor, on which ten bedrooms 
and a bathroom for the clergy are provided in the main body of the 
house ; in the left wing there are the Bishop's suite, two more small 
bedrooms and a sitting-room of comfortable proportions. The 
upper part of the chapel occupies, of course, the end of the wing. 
As has been already remarked, the third floor only exists on this 
side, and comprises two guest-rooms, six smaller bedchambers, 
and a bathroom. The staircase affords access to the single 
front bedroom yet a floor higher and to the flat roof whereon a 
capacious cistern room is built. 

Having completed this general impression of the plan and 
arrangement of Archbishop's House, it will be interesting to 


describe m some detail the state apartments, a splendid suite of 
reception rooms over 100 ft. in length. A few words on the 
private chapel must also be said before proceeding to the Diocesan 
Library, the cloister, and the Cathedral Hall. 

The Throne Room 

This, the central and necessarily the largest of the three apart- 
ments, possesses noble and dignified proportions, combining a 
length of 53 ft. with a breadth of 35i ft. and a height of 17 ft., 
and consists of three bays. The photograph (Plate XXXIX) gives 
as good an idea of the decorative scheme as one can hope to convey 
by an uncoloured illustration. Unfortunately it has not been 
found possible to show the other side of the room, with the six 
tall sash windows already observed in the facade. 

The doorways, likewise numbering six, are planned on a scale 
equally impressive, the breadth of the opening measuring 6 ft., 
and the height to the architrave 10 ft. ; the jambs and con- 
taining arches are finely moulded, and their tympana contain 
plaques moulded in relief, painted with armorial bearings. Two 
of these doors afford, as has been seen, means of ingress 
from the corridor ; while those to right and left of the fireplace 
communicate with the Archbishop's library, and those at the oppo- 
site end with his reception room. In the chimney-breast an 
arched recess of similar detail encompasses the fireplace, the 
simple grate of polished steel and brass being surrounded by slabs 
of a fine Siena marble, golden-yellow with greyish veining. 
The hearth is of black marble, enframed with white ; the wood- 
work of the jambs and characteristic chimney-piece is painted 
white, the wall above being pale green with bordering scroll-work 
in tones of pink. 

The great beams of the ceiling, 30 in. broad, are thrown across 
from the intcr-fenestral piers (which have a projection of 3 ft.) 
to the fluted Ionic pilasters opposite. Similar pilasters, with 
moulded pedestals 18 in. high, adorn the faces of the piers. 


An examination of the first-floor plan reveals the fact that in 
these structural details we have a departure from Bentley's 
expressed intention. A projection of no more than 2 ft. is 
here provided for his inter-fenestral piers, while each is fronted 
with a column, and half-shafts take the place of the pilasters of the 
opposite wall. It seems probable that Cardinal Vaughan, in- 
fluenced by economic considerations, was responsible for the 

The pilasters terminate in Ionic capitals beneath the elaborately 
moulded and painted frieze and cornice. Within the window bays 
the ceiling is divided by a moulded bead into five rectangular 
panels. Walls, ceilings, and beams are plastered and enriched 
with a classically-inspired scheme of painted decoration, designed 
by Mr. Marshall, Bentley having left neither sketch nor other 
indication of his intentions. The predominating colours are a 
very delicate sage-green and a pale dull pinkish red. Green are the 
dado and moulded chair-rail and green the pilaster bases and 
the pilasters up to the fluting, which is treated with green and 
a warm toned white, convex surfaces being white and concave 
green. From chair-rail to frieze the walls are coloured light red, 
and painted at intervals of 20 in. with vertical laurel garlands, 
suspended from the formal ribbons painted beneath the frieze and 
secured a few inches above the chair-rail to the rings there 

The Archbishop's throne, a gilt rococo armchair without a 
canopy, is raised on a small dais in the middle bay. For back- 
ground it has a painted curtain 6 ft. wide, having a design of 
twelve panels divided by interlacing foliage on a dull blue ground. 
Centrewise in each panel the sacred pallium is depicted within 
an oval of red, enclosed within a narrow band of pale blue. This 
" cloth of estate," heavily fringed along its upper edge, appears 
as though suspended by means of the four laurel wreaths which 
cross it ; along its upper edge between the supporting ribbons are 
represented three eagles standing with wings outspread. 

Each leaf of the doors of this fine apartment is divided into 


four panels beneath a moulded pediment, and painted sage 
green, the jambs and architraves being white, powdered with 
pinkish rosettes at intervals. Their tympana are also white with 
vertical lines of ornament and arms painted in their moulded 
panels. The six coats of arms represented are those of Leo XIII, 
the Pontiff in whose reign the cathedral was begun ; of the reign- 
ing Pope Pius X, of the three previous Archbishops of Westminster 
and of the present occupant of the see with their respective 
mottoes. Cardinal Wiseman's is omnia pro cheisto ; Cardinal 
Manning's, malo moki quam fcedari ; Cardinal Vaughan's, amare 
ET SERViRE ; and Cardinal Bourne's ne cede malis. White, too, 
are the windoAv frames with a repeating pattern of conventional 
leaves, buds, and flowers on jambs and architraves. The space 
intervening between window and cornice is divided into four 
squares, adorned with a delicate interlacement of lines in alter- 
nately light and dark green on white. Placed high up on the 
returns of the piers is painted a dark green tablet bordered with 
pendent swags. 

The frieze is adorned with a painted acanthus design in green 
and white and a little yellow above the egg and tongue moulding, 
similarly coloured. In the corona of the cornice we get the 
greenish turquoise-blue which becomes in the ceiling a dominant 
colour note, and here is relieved at intervals with acanthus 
leaves painted in greenish- white tones. 

The groundwork of the ceiling is white, subdivided in each bay 
by means of broad blue bands into three compartments, which 
again by a painted bead are broken into fifteen squares. These are 
grounded pale green, and each displays a radiant sun, set on a 
background of darker green. The blue bands are diversified at 
their angles, and at intervals along their length, with foliated 
arabesques in green and white. The under-surface of the beams, 
divided by interlacing laurel garlands into a series of panels, have 
each panel filled with white strap-Avork on a pale green ground, 
surcharged with oval medallions coloured alternately light blue or 


The coffered ceiling between the piers is treated with conven- 
tional foliation in tones of green and white arranged round central 
panels of blue. 

The colour scheme is completed by a harmonious floor covering 
of light green felt toning exactly with the paint on the dado. 

The Archbishop's Library 

This fine apartment, entered, as we have seen, through the 
great doorway at the left-hand end of the corridor, has likewise two 
doors of communication with the throne room. It possesses more- 
over a fourth and much smaller single door near the window end 
(added since Bentley's plan was made), giving on to the upper 
gallery of the Diocesan Hall. 

The library is 48 ft. long, 21 ft. wide, and 17 ft. high. That 
part of its length which corresponds roughly to the width of the 
corridor outside forms a sort of antechamber to the main body of 
the room, having a vaulted ceiling carried on the inner side by a 
pair of columns. A glance at the plan reveals the noteworthy 
fact that the architect provided a second pair of columns to 
carry this vault, and designed the antechamber with an open 
arcaded end, the counterpart of that opposite. This effectively 
arranged arcade would have afforded communication with the 
Diocesan Library at its gallery level, by means of a short flight of 
steps, starting beneath the lintels on either side of the central 
arch. It will be seen when we come to examine the great library 
how extremely effective is this feature, in spite of being diverted 
from its original purpose. The private library is enclosed by a 
wall built up in front of the arcading, and has suffered by reason of 
the mutilation a considerable loss of interest. 

The stone columns stand 7 ft. 6 in. apart on moulded rectangular 
bases, their shafts 9 ft. high, crowned with graceful Ionic caps, 
the height to the springing being 10 ft. 6 in. The height to the 
crown of the arch is 15 ft. 6 in. The lunette of the barrel vault is 
filled with a semi-circular window at the end facing the doorway. 


The main ceiling is simply plastered and whitened with the 
exception of a breadth of 3 ft. across the window end, where it is 
enriched with mouldings dividing it into seven square panels. 
The broad cornice combines egg and tongue and bead mouldings. 
The three tall windows are 2 ft. 8 in. from the floor, the intervening 
piers being 1 ft. 6 in. wide and 1 ft. in projection. 

The chimney-breast has an arched recess of corresponding di- 
mensions with that in the throne room. A fine dark green marble 
with white veining is utilised for the fireplace surrounds, and 
also for the hearth and curb ; the mantelpiece being of oak 
fumed and wax polished like the bookcases. These, 8 ft. high, 
except in the antechamber, where they rise to 10 ft. 6 in., are of 
suitable but quite unpretentious design. They occupy all the wall 
space up to the heights mentioned, with the exception of that 
allotted to a radiator, above which a useful table shelf is fixed. 
The skirting and chair-rail are also of oak. 

The decoration of the library is extremely quiet. A light cool 
sage-green paint is employed for the walls and great doors to the 
throne room (the other doors are of oak wax polished), the dado 
at the window end being coloured a darker and bluer shade of 
green. The woodwork of the windows is white, and the fireplace 
recess and the antechamber are similarly treated. 

The walls above the bookcases are himg with portraits, for the 
most part of slender merit as works of art, although historically 
interesting, since the sequence includes the bishops of the London 
district from Bishop Giffard of penal days, who died in 1734, and 
the Archbishops of Westminster since that " second spring " 
which budded in 1850. Plaster busts of Cardinals Manning and 
Newman crown the smaller bookcases right and left of the fireplace. 
A relic of the former, eloquent testimony to his statesmanship and 
broad humanity, hangs on the opposite wall. It is a carved 
ebony triptych, enframing the address of eulogy and thanks pre- 
sented to the great prelate by the Jewish community of London 
in 1890. The doors of the triptych are carved in linen-fold pattern 
and have central octagonal panels, one enclosing the year and the 


Plate XLI. — The Diocesan Library, Westminster. 
(Photo, Cyril Ellis.) 


other the Cardinal's cipher. His armorial bearings surmount the 

In this lofty, nobly proportioned apartment, with a pervading 
atmosphere of dignified calm, meet in council at the great horse- 
shoe table which runs nearly all its length the suffragan bishops 
of the Province. The assurance rises strong within one that here 
should be the birthplace of good counsel and wise governance. 

The Reception Room 

This, the third stately apartment of the suite, adjoining the 
other end of the throne room, is with those just described thrown 
open on ceremonial occasions to form a magnificent whole. 
Here, as the name implies, the Cardinal Archbishop receives his 
guests. In breadth and height it is equivalent to the library, its 
length being coincident with the width of the throne room. Its 
two entrances from the corridor have single doors, panelled and 
painted a deep wine-coloured red ; their framing is white, the 
architrave being raised in the centre in pediment form. The two 
doors to the throne room are double- leaved, but otherwise similar 
in detail. A fifth small leather- covered door that does not exist 
on the plan was made subsequently to connect with the Arch- 
bishop's sitting-room, which is preceded by a sort of antechamber, 
formed by a curtain-hung arcading borne on two columns, re- 
miniscent of that in the library, the sole internal decorative feature, 
and a very attractive one, in this otherwise simple room. Out- 
side the window has the little wrought-iron balcony already 

The details of windows, cornice, and chimney-breast of the 
reception room are as those of the library. The dado is painted 
a light bluish-green, with skirting and chair-rail somewhat lighter ; 
the walls are coloured reddish-pink, a stronger tone than that of 
the throne room. The deorations of the state apartments 
were wholly designed by Mr. Marshall and executed tmder his 


The Chapel 

Its present entrance, on the left of the corridor, was originally, 
as already explained, the sacristy door, the entrance proper to the 
chapel, through a little lobby, having been blocked up. Within 
we find the acme of austere simplicity, a nave 18 ft. wide and 24 ft. 
long terminating in an apsidal sanctuary with a depth of 12 ft. 
A segmental vault ceils the nave, the height to the springing 
being 14 ft. 9 in. and to the crown 21 ft. The crown of the apse is 
9 inches lower than the main vault. 

Comparing plan and photograph (Plate XL) one sees that 
Bentley's arrangement of the east end has undergone considerable 
alteration, the barrel vault over the sanctuary being now omitted, 
and the size of the little apse, which in his plan has a depth of 
only 4 ft. and a breadth of 13, having been increased till it 
measures, as has been said, 12 ft. deep and 18 ft. across. The 
vaulted recesses to right and left of the altar have been altered in 
consonance. That on the Epistle side, intended for the credence 
table, now embraces a statue of the Blessed Virgin, a demi-figure 
on a marble pedestal. The other contains a semi-circular-headed 
window to tlirow extra light upon the altar, adequate general 
illumination being provided by the great segmental triple light in 
the lunette of the west end. Beneath this window is the wide arch 
of the main entrance, a similar recess on the left marking the 
blocked-up door already mentioned ; a vesting table now stands 
there. The arch mouldings are white, the recess dark green, while 
the panelled door is painted Venetian red. 

The details and decoration of the chapel are of an extraordinary 
simplicity, its cornice, for example, consisting of a single cavetto 
moulding, painted white. The nave walls are distempered pale 
green up to a narrow white string, emphasized with a heading of 
black lines and red squares, and the vault is white. The 
sanctuary, which demands, of course, something more in the way 
of decoration, is destitute of a moulded cornice, but is painted 
with a series of panels beneath a broad frieze, up to the springing, 


whence the vault is white. These light red panels are surrounded 
with banding like that of the nave ; the frieze is in pale yellowish 
green headed with the banding and set out with five panels in 
which are white crosses on a black ground. Vertical bands formed 
of black and white chevrons break up the remainder of the 
green ground. The mouding outlining the archivolt of the apse 
is the same as the nave cornice. 

The extremely simple altar is that made for Cardinal Manning 
in 1873. The gradine and retable are of Derbyshire fossil marbles, 
with plinth and coping of Hopton Wood, which also constitutes 
the mensa borne on a pair of columns with shafts of dark green 
marble and pedestals, bases, and caps of statuary ; the recessed 
plain frontal is composed of slabs of indifferent alabaster. 

The chapel furniture, with the exception of the Archbishop's 
seat, a gilt armchair of Louis XV period, and his priedieu, an 
elaborate traceried modern Gothic production, is utterly beneath 
notice, being shop-made Gothic of pernicious style, without the 
slightest pretension to be in keeping with its surroundings. 
One must except, of course, the inlaid table on the left near the 
apse, designed by Mr. Marshall to carry the coffer containing 
the pallium. 

The Diocesan Library 

The library with its passage, ante-room, and librarian's room 
occupies, as we have earlier noticed, the entire ground floor of 
the right wing. Its scale, eminently satisfactory, combines a 
length of 42 ft. with a width of 21 J ft. The height to the spring- 
ing is 23 ft. ; to the crown of the ribbed vault 31 ft. It is a 
structure of four bays, lighted at the posterior end by a great 
semi-circular window, with leaded glazing and sub- divided into 
six lights. Laterally four segmental-topped windows on either 
hand intersect the vaulting. The fenestration of the ground 
floor is on a smaller scale : four little sash windows on the right 
(supposing that we have entered from Archbishop's House) give 


upon the central courtyard, and a tiny casement in the first bay 
on the opposite side opens into tlie Diocesan Hall below, affording 
a good view of the platform. 

Great double doors of oak, set in broad archways with 
glazed tympana, are provided at both ends of the library. The 
bookcases which line the walls, and, on the ground floor, project 
at right angles therefrom, were carried out from Bentley's designs 
by the firm of Beyaert of Bruges, Monsieur L. Beyaert coming to 
London to receive the architect's instructions and see the plans 
in November 1900. The photograph (Plate XLI) shows their 
details very well, and also the manner in which the gallery 
appears to rest upon those that project, of which there are three on 
either side, measuring each 3 ft. in width and 6 ft. 6 in. in projec- 
tion. Cases of similar projection, but of only half the width, 
are placed on either side of the great doorways. Others line the 
walls wherever there is space available. 

The library is thus divided into eight recesses, four on either 
side, with a clear central passage way 8| ft. wide. The gallery, 
raised 9 ft. from the floor at the sides and 11 ft. 6 in. at each end, 
extends round the hall, supported at the ends upon stout moulded 
oaken corbels, placed right and left of the doorways. The lateral 
galleries and that at the cloister end are 5 ft. 6 in. wide ; the other, 
in front of the arcading which Bentley intended to be open, is 
but 3 ft. wide, and higher by an ascent of four steps than the 
side galleries. Taller bookcases are here carried up to the spring- 
ing, a height of 10 ft. 6 in., those in the gallery otherwise measuring 
only 8 ft. high. The galleries have a simple balustrading of wrought 
iron with handrail of oak. A small oak door in the last bay on 
the right leads to the winding stone gallery staircase, which also 
descends from the means of communication with the platform of 
the Diocesan Hall. 

In the wall over the above-mentioned arcading, a pair of 
ancient sculptured lions' heads have been inserted. Centrally 
and higher is a narrow upright stone panel, displaying the arms of 
Cardinal Vaughan carved and tinctured. A great concrete barrel 


vault, showing the marks of the wooden centering on which it was 
turned, spans the library, its five stone ribs, a yard wide, enriched 
with double rows of coffering. It has already been observed that 
the roof is exteriorly low pitched and clothed with small greenish 
tiles and leaden ridging. 

The wood block flooring is stained and wax polished to match 
the bookcases. 

Here is a spot ideal for study and quiet thought, as tranquil 
and apparently as remote from busy haunts as any monastic 
scriptorium of old. Volumes ancient and worn, exhaling the musty 
smell of old leather, and filled with the wisdom and the sanctity of 
ages, hem one in on every side and overflow in their many hundreds 
into the cloister beyond. " A valuable collection," says the 
Cathedral Chronicle,^ " of some thousands of books, including many 
standard works on theology, Scripture, canon law, history, and 
literature." And yet the library is by no means complete, for we 
have it on the same authority that " many important works of 
reference are wanting, notably the Greek patrology and the 
writings of modern Catholic scholars." Here is an opportunity 
for bookish benefactors. 

The Cloister 

We emerge from the library into the cloister, which continues 
its uninterrupted way for 156 ft., from the left wing of the house 
to the door of the state sacristy, the last 16 ft. being flung as a 
bridge over the asphalted courtyard below. The cloister has a 
ribbed barrel vault similar to that of the library. Its width is 
10 ft., height to springing 8 ft. and height to crown 13 ft. The 
walls are wood panelled and lined with bookcases up to the spring- 
ing, all the woodwork being painted a satisfactory olive-green. 
There are six leaded casements looking on to the interior court- 
yard, with a low green window-seat in each arched recess, and a 
moulded panel occupying the lunette above. Two similar windows 

1 Issue of May 1908. 


occur in the " bridge " end, one on either side. About midway 
the Choir School is built up against the cloister, and connected 
with it by doors of communication. One bears the inscription 
" Director of the Choir." The cloister constitutes therefore the 
bond of union between Archbishop's House, Clergy House, library. 
Choir School, and cathedral, though it is, of course, never utilized 
as a passage-way for the choristers. 

The Cathedral Hall 

The Cathedral Hall, originally and for several years known 
as the chapter hall, is now thus more correctly styled (since the 
canons hold their meetings in Archbishop's House). It is some- 
times alternatively called the Diocesan Hall. Enthusiastically 
praised by an architectural critic as one of the most beautiful rooms 
in London,' it certainly deserves this eulogy, its beauty being the 
result of noble proportions allied to fine construction. To applied 
decoration it owes little, for such details are rather conspicuous 
by their absence, exceptions being the moulded vaulting ribs and 
their lion's head corbels. 

The hall is constructed in seven bays terminating in an 
apse, the 35-ft. span of the barrel vault extending over the main 
body for a length of 82 ft., and being 26 ft. high to the spring- 
ing and 38 ft. to the crown of the vault. The apse measures 
17i ft. deep, 26 ft. across beneath the archivolt, 23 ft. to the 
springing, and 33 ft. 9 in. to the crown. The total length 
of the building is therefore just under 100 ft., its seating capacity 
being about 600. Additional space is provided by the lateral 
extensions of the fourth, fifth, and sixth bays into aisles, as 
they may be termed, recessed to a depth of 8 ft. between the 
piers. The flat roof of the right aisle is seen in the side eleva- 
tion ; that on the left is further extendisd beneath the Diocesan 
Library, its width of 25 ft. affording ample space for the storage of 

■ Consecration Handbook, p. 20. 


chairs, tables, etc. The additional 17 ft, is usually screened off 
with curtains. The height to the flat ceiling of the aisles is 8 ft. 6 in.; 
that on the outer side of the hall is rendered continuous by arched 
openings, pierced through the thickness of the piers, and each recess 
is lighted by a pair of small square leaded lights. 

A platform convexly curved on plan fills the apse ; the flight 
of steps now attached in the centre do not occur in Bentley's plan. 
At the opposite end are the galleries,' the lower extending to a 
width of 20 ft., the upper being about half that width and added, 
we believe, after Bentley's time, for he does not indicate it on the 
first-floor plan, but the photograph shows the configuration of 
both galleries. The construction of these is iron on the can- 
tilever system, cased up with joinery (Plates XLII and XLIII). 

The lighting is excellent. At the gallery end each level is 
provided with windows, which exteriorly give distinction to the 
fa5ade, the topmost being a large semi-circular triple light, while 
the lower gallery has a trio of square leaded lights, the central one 
opening in its upper half, and on the ground floor there are two 
small oblong windows. On the right side of the hall a series of 
six openings ' occupies the wall arcading which intersects the 
waggon vault ; each comprises a pair of lights set beneath a 
semi-circular light, whose middle third is practicable for ventila- 
tion. Other windows there are, chiefly internal, which can be 
mentioned as they are met in a survey of the decoration. 

The photographs are sufficiently illustrative of the double 
tiers of wall arcading, which it will be admitted are extremely 
effective. The lions' heads boldly carved beneath a scroll upon 
the corbels are no less so ; the types vary : some are open-mouthed, 
angrily roaring ; others with mouths slightly open, as though 
purring ; others again have closed lips, as in repose. 

In the painted decoration, designed by Mr. Marshall, since, as 
we understand, the architect had not left any suggestions for it, 

• Cardinal Vaughan proposed to have side galleries ; he eventually decided to omit 
them on account of the cost. 

2 The window of the second bay (in the gallery) has been blocked up with the excep- 
tion of its top light. 


a refined and classical effect, based on Pompeian models, is pro- 
duced. We will first deal with the body of the hall, whose 
prevailing colour is a light sage-green, much like that in the 
state rooms, and particularly satisfactory in reflecting light. It is 
used for the faces of the piers at the ground floor level, also within 
the recesses of the aisles and in the arcading above them and the 
gallery woodwork. The skirting and dado are painted a rather 
dark olive-green. The cornice likewise is pale green, the span- 
drels beneath it being painted a buffy yellow, broken up by 
vertical bands of dark green and white chevrons between two 
white-bordered dark green tablets. The space between spandrels, 
arch-crown, and cornice is painted white, and adorned with 
pinkish beads on a festoon. White also is the soffit of the arch 
and the wooden panel beneath the three small casements which 
give on to the library and its antechamber. Their lateral chevron 
bands are carried out in red and white, the ornament bordering 
the lower edge of the tympanum being white patterned with 
linear ornament in dark green and red. 

The upper arcading strikes a warmer note by reason of its 
combination of dull light red and yellow, the piers being red with 
central and bordering chevron banding in dark green and white, 
and oval medallions of the same. The walls within the arcading 
are of the dull yellow, bordered with green and white lozenge 
banding. The soffits and the vault are white. 

In the apse a panelled effect has been obtained above the lower 
string cornice, which runs at a height of 6| ft. from the platform 
floor. Up to this point the wall is pale green and the cornice white, 
the painted panels which extend up to the springing being alter- 
nately dark green and light red, the interspaces being white with 
dark outlining. Each red panel is charged at its upper end with a 
lozenge composed of smaller lozenges of green and white. The 
small window set high up on the right side of the apse is intended 
to light the staircase from the cathedral choir to the cloister, to 
which reference must be made again later. The vault and archi- 
volt are white, the sole decoration of the latter being the two 


high and narrow panels on the piers above the string. Below 
they are pierced with two narrow doorways," painted Venetian 
red, whieh admit to the short stairway to the platform doors. The 
stairs on the right also connect the hall with the Diocesan Library. 
There are three more means of communication with Archbishop's 
House on the ground floor, viz. that beneath the gallery which 
leads into the cloak-room and two little doors in the left aisle, 
one opening on to the basement corridor and the other, near the 
heating chamber, giving on to the interior courtyard. 

The two external entrances to the Diocesan Hall are both 
placed on the right of the hall, the porch for the public pro- 
viding a feature in the front elevation to Ambrosden Avenue. 
Its vaulted roof is lead sheeted. The facade of the hall is built 
of stone for nine courses and of brick up to the top of the 
tiny windows of the ground floor. Thereafter there is an arrange- 
ment of horizontal brick and stone banding up to the space 
between the pediment and the great window, which is treated 
with vertical stone bands and herring-bone brickwork. A stone 
finial of flattened sugarloaf form crowns each buttress. The roof 
is tile hung, with leaden ridging, the slates employed being small 
and of a greenish tint. The roof of the apse is asphalted externally. 

The porch door is double and painted Venetian red like those 
within the hall. Within the tympanum of its arch is a represen- 
tation of St. Peter and St. James seated in their boat, with 
the net full of fishes, whose weight they are endeavouring to raise 
from the waves. This piece of sculpture was hurriedly given to 
a mason to design and execute shortly after Bentley's death; 
since the order never passed through his office, it happened that the 
work was done without any proper supervision, which accounts 
for its bad composition and poor modelling. The result was an 
eyesore ; fortunately time and weather have combined in some 
measure to soften its asperities. 

Passing into the pleasant stone- flagged lobby, one notices the 

' Bentley provided only one platform door. That on the right is a later addition, 
the passages behind the apse to the sub-cloister having been blocked up. 


small ticket office on the left, the staircase to the gallery on the 
further side, and two stone columns of the Ionic order, 8 ft. 
apart, in the centre to carry the central vault. The ceiling of 
the porch is compound, consisting of a barrel vault between 
two groined vaults. The window, two rectangular lights beneath 
a semi-circular one, fills the lunette of the central vault, while 
more light enters through the small window on the left of 
the entrance. The ascent to the gallery is by two flights of 
stone steps lighted at the upper storey by a small square window. 
The lower gallery consists of six tiers of seats, the door on its 
further side communicating with the librarian's room in Arch- 
bishop's House. The upper gallery is not open to the public ; the 
only entrance to it being the small door, already noticed, in 
the private library. 

A descent of three steps from the lobby brings one to the 
panelled swing doors of the hall which have glazed upper panels 
and tympanum. 

The second entrance, corresponding with the seventh bay of 
the hall, is under the covered bridge built to connect the monks' 
choir with the monastery as originally planned. This bridge ends 
in a little porch chamber, which has a small square window 
giving into the hall, and two three-light openings, with charm- 
ing stone details, in its side walls. The passage way was con- 
tinued on the right behind the lateral wall of the hall apse to a 
descending stairway and a passage emerging at last into the cloister. 
The bridge broadens at its cathedral end and is bifurcated inter- 
nally by the central pier of the apse. There is a descent of four 
steps to the choir level, which is entered by two inconspicuous 
and now little used doorways. The bridge spans a distance of 
16 ft. between cathedral and porch, and is 7 ft. 6 in. wide at its 
narrower and 14 ft. wide at its curved broader part. 

The chapter hall was fitted up as a temporary chapel, and 
first used for the celebration of Mass and the chanting of the 
Divine Office on Ascension Day, May 1902. It continued to be 
so used for eighteen months, until the cathedral was permanently 


opened for daily use at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1903. 
The following aecount of the Ascension Day ceremonial is quoted 
from the Cathedral Guide : ' 

" The cathedral choir, under the direction of Mr, R. R. Terry, 
occupied the platform space which was screened off from the body 
of the hall. Below the platform an altar was erected with a throne 
for the Archbishop ; and benches were arranged choir-wise for the 
canons and cathedral chaplains. The first vespers of the Feast, 
followed by Compline, were solemnly chanted at 3.30 on the eve 
of the festival. On the Feast at 11.30 a.m. the Hours of Prime 
and Terce were recited. A solemn High Mass was sung and was 
followed by the offices of Sext and None. At 3,30 the second 
Vespers of the Feast, followed by Compline, were solemnly sung, 
and the greater number of the canons of the metropolitan chapter 
were present in their places. His Eminence the late Cardinal 
Archbishop presided at all the services. The music was beautifully 
rendered by the new choir, and the Mass chosen for the occasion 
was the five-part setting by William Byrd, the great Catholic 
composer of the sixteenth century, with the motet ' Tu es Petrus,' 
by Palestrina, Thus in the first solemn Mass sung within the 
precincts of Westminster Cathedral were appropriately blended the 
voice of our Catholic past and the anthem of loyalty to the see 
of Peter ; and the note of the olden time, echoing across the 
centuries, was happily taken up by the new. The ceremonies, 
which were strictly modelled upon those observed in the great 
Roman basilicas, were admirably carried out under the direction 
of the Rev. G. Wahlis, a prebendary and master of ceremonies 
to the new cathedral." 

The Choir School 

At a Synod held at Westminster in 1901, Cardinal Vaughan 
announced to his clergy that unforeseen difficulties had arisen 
over the proposal to call in the services of a religious order to 

^ Published by Messrs. Burns & Oates. Fourth Edition. 


carry out the daily chanting of the cathedral liturgy ; and that 
therefore he gladly availed himself of the readiness of the secular 
clergy of his diocese to take up the work and maintain the indis- 
pensable high standard of efficiency. The announcement, notes 
the Tablet,' was received with feelings of the liveliest satisfaction. 
It was perhaps hardly to be expected that the seculars would 
take kindly to the idea of a metropolitan cathedral in large part 
served by a monastery ; while the inevitable clashing of authority 
certain to result from attempts to work it with monks in the choir 
and secular priests in the sanctuary was likely to prove, as was 
happily foreseen by those with the clearest vision, a difficulty 
well-nigh insuperable. 

The important part of Cardinal Vaughan's new scheme as 
then announced involved the immediate foundation of a Choir 
School. His Eminence's plans were quickly brought to fruition 
and on October 1st he welcomed his first choir-boys, a little awe- 
stricken group of thirteen, in their temporary schoolroom, the 
lower sacristy. The welcome was brief and characteristic. " You," 
cried he, with that large and expressive sweep of the arm he in- 
variably used when in emphatic mood, "You are the foundations 
of the cathedral ! " 

The boys were at first housed in Archbishop's House in dormi- 
tories, refectory, and classroom fitted up under the Cardinal's 
supervision. Their sleeping accommodation was on the top floor, 
the large cloak-room adjoining the cathedral hall served as their 
dining-room, and the great bare hall made an excellent playroom, 
where even football could be played in wet weather. The play- 
ground consisted, as it still does, of the vacant land adjoining the 

Dr. R. R. Terry came from Downside School to take up his 
appointment as director of the music and choir-master, bringing 
to the work his proved talent and immense knowledge of ecclesi- 
astical music. The Rev. Dr. Francis Aveling became the first 
rector of the school. The endowment provides for seventeen 

J Tablet, June 15th, 1901. 


scholars and eight exhibitioners, the school being at first limited 
to twenty boarders (now twenty-five), to whom a good general 
education is given, under the charge of the rector, two assistant 
masters, and a matron. The ordinary pension of fifty guineas a 
year is entirely remitted for the scholars, preference being given, 
other things being equal, to the sons of gentlemen in reduced 
circumstances. The exhibitions are of the annual value of £30 
and are tenable until a scholarship is gained or until the voice 
breaks. Candidates for admission must be at least eight years 
of age and under eleven. 

An exceptionally high ideal of church music was set before the 
new choir. That it has long since taken its place in the front 
rank among the first in this country, choirs of ancient tradition 
and foundation, speaks eloquently of the energy and perseverance 
of those to whom the attainment and maintenance of this ideal 
were entrusted. The school of church music adopted was the 
Gregorian and the polyphonic style of the sixteenth century, of 
which Palestrina is the greatest master and Byrd and Blow are 
the most eminent exponents in England. 

The full strength of the choir on the occasion of its first per- 
formance in the cathedral hall on Ascension Day 1902, after a 
training of barely six months, was 17 choristers, 8 probationers, 
5 altos, 4 tenors, and 6 basses. The men, all professional singers, 
are paid by the Administration. 

The structure of the Choir School, a plain red-brick house of 
four stories, conveniently united to Archbishop's House by the 
cloister, was begun in 1904, and was ready for habitation in 1905. 

Clergy House 

Since the Benedictine monks were not to sing the liturgy at 
Westminster, it was imperative that the Cardinal should at once 
proceed to form a college of cathedral chaplains or prebendaries. 
The selection took place early in 1902. They number seventeen, 
and are under the management of the Administrator of the 


cathedral. For a time these minor canons occupied part of Arch- 
bishop's House ; but the pressure on space soon becoming too 
great in a house that was never designed for so large a body, 
plans were prepared by the Bentley firm, and a Clergy House 
of four storeys built on to the left wing. It was completed in 1906, 
and is satisfactorily in harmony with the other buildings. The 
entrance is in the low boundary wall in Francis Street, the hall, 
low and flat-roofed, projecting from the front of the house. 

The Archbishop's new garage is a yellow brick structure 
adjoining the Clergy House. 



Bentley'a life bound up with the cathedral — His constant visits — Opening hoped for in 
1900 — Unsatisfactory state of his health — Second paralytic seizure — Slow convales- 
cence — Resolve to concentrate all powers on accomplishment of cathedral^General 
scheme of marble decoration planned — Disappointments and their effect — Recogni- 
tion of genius — Norman Shaw and Lethaby on cathedral — King's Gold Medal — 
State of work on March 1st, 1902 — The architect's last visit — Death — Desire to bury 
him in cathedral — Requiem and funeral oration — The Cardinal's pledge — Arrange- 
ments for carrying on his work — Opening again impossible in June 1902 — Performance 
of sacred music to test acoustics — Dream of Gerontius, 1903 — Cardinal Vaughan's 
death — Lying-in-state, and funeral — Enthronisation of Archbishop Bourne, 1903 — 
First High Mass, Christmas Eve 1903 — Centenary of St. Gregory the Great, 1904 — 
Translation of bodies of Cardinals Wiseman and Manning, 1907 — Eucharistic Congress, 
1908 — Centenary of St. Ansebn of Canterbury, 1909 — Consecration of cathedral, 
June 1910 — Remaining debt defrayed — Pomp and dignity of three days' ceremonies 
— Message from Pope Pius X — Diamond Jubilee of the Restoration of the Hierarchy 
celebrated — Banquet at the Mansion House— In conclusion. 

The closing years of the architect's life, from that summer day of 
1895 when the first stone was laid, were passed wholly in spirit and 
often in person in his cathedral. Other commissions necessarily 
occupied some of his time and thought, and it is true that he 
crossed the Atlantic at the call of one ; but the indisputable fact 
remains that Westminster was the central and engrossing theme 
upon which his energy and supreme devotion were concentrated. 
Every morning, on the journey between his home at Clapham and 
office off the Strand, he visited the works, and again at evening 
his feet were drawn thither to stroll alone among scaffolding and 
masonry, and note the day's progress in the twilight hush, when 
the clamours of labour were stilled. The solitary figure in frock 
coat and tall hat became familiar to dwellers in the neighbour- 

1—20 306 


hood ; it is told that on one occasion a visitor, trying to gain 
admittance to the site one Saturday afternoon in the early days 
of building, was assisted by an interested cabby, who shouted 
encouragingly from the point of vantage of his vehicle, " The 
architec's inside — e's 'ere day and night ! " 

On Santa Sophia, built and decorated by Justinian in a little 
under six years, ten thousand workmen were employed and 
untold gold poured forth. The structure of Westminster Cathedral 
was seven years a-building, the daily number of men contracted 
for being 260 ; this marked inferiority of labouring strength being 
equalized to some degree by modern methods and appliances. But 
though the Cardinal intended, and Bentley hoped and endeavoured, 
to complete the shell in five years (indeed the former made an- 
nouncement that the Golden Jubilee of the Restoration of the 
Hierarchy in England would be solemnized in the new cathedral 
in the summer of 1900), it was otherwise ordained, and to neither 
founder nor architect was vouchsafed the realization of this 
sanguine dream. 

Bentley's health had for some time been very unsatis- 
factory, so that he was not unprepared for the tragedy of the 
second warning which came in the summer of that year. The 
first, a comparatively slight stroke of paralysis, had overtaken 
him in November 1898 — he was not an old man, being then only 
fifty-nine, and indeed very young and vigorous in appearance 
for his years. But this second seizure made serious inroads on 
his strength and power of resistance. For weeks he lay almost 
helpless, the clear brain striving against an enfeebled body and 
sadly affected speech. He realized, none more clearly, the portent 
of this illness ; and knew that, with so much yet to be accomplished, 
the time remaining was running out fast. Nothing would persuade 
him to take the absolute repose ordered. Always the sick-bed 
was littered with samples of marble, and encumbered with clay 
models of carving from the mason's yard. In spite of the 
handicap of defective speech, business was transacted and corre- 
spondence continued through all those weeks of illness, one of his 


daughters acting as amanuensis and praying as she wrote that she 
might interpret correctly the halting and indistinct words, and 
so avoid giving further pain to the beloved sufferer. 

At length in the autumn, with health sufficiently restored for 
resumption of the daily routine, he took up his labour in the tranquil 
and certain knowledge that he would never see the end, and 
schooled himself to face it with the calm and undaunted courage 
of a self-contained nature. It must not be supposed that these 
thoughts were ever uttered, for the habits of reserve of a lifetime 
had not been relaxed by illness, and even to his nearest he rarely 
spoke about professional matters ; but looking back over the long 
perspective of years, one is able to realize something of the im- 
mense will-power with which all the forces of body and mind were 
concentrated from day to day upon the task in hand, and to 
admire the unwavering resolution with which everything tending 
to distract or make undue demands upon his strength was put 
entirely outside his life. To a friend who on one occasion inquired 
whether the future of his family and the cathedral were not a 
source of worry to him, he admitted this much : " Yes, if I were 
ever to allow myself to think about the future, I should achieve 
nothing, and I believe I should go mad." 

All his life he had been an insatiable worker — holidays 
gave him scant pleasure, and were avoided as far as possible. No 
quantity of work ever seemed to fatigue him or affect his health ; 
but " It is worry that kills me," he said pathetically on some 
occasions when tried beyond endurance, and there is unhappily 
no room for doubt that the tendency to tinker with his 
designs and certain great disappointments concerning his wishes for 
the cathedral materially affected an already weakened constitution 
and contributed to hasten the end. 

Impelled by this ever-present sense that the sands were fast run- 
ning out, Bentley rapidly laid down the general scheme of the 
marble revetment for nave, sanctuary, and side chapels, and 
hastened to design the details for the sanctuary and for the two 
chapels which were to be first completed as specimens and guides 


for the future. Working under immense pressure, he produced 
also the superb set of designs for the marble pavements. The 
decision to substitute wood-block flooring in nave and aisles, 
based on utilitarian and economic grounds, came as a cruel blow, 
and was in the nature of a climax to such previous disappoint- 
ments as the Cardinal's ordering in Rome, without consulting 
him, the entirely unsuitable pulpit and throne. 

We have no wish to draw too sombre a picture of these last 
months. Disappointments were many, but compensations there 
were also. Happy and rare indeed is the architect whose vision 
finds its perfect fulfilment. To Bentley was given a great opportunity 
and he used it nobly ; it is vain to sigh for the might have 
been had the chance been his ten years earlier. 

Singularly unheeding of public opinion, of the voices that had 
dubbed the new bmlding " Cardinal Vaughan's Railway Station " 
and the campanile " the Roman Candle," and so forth, Bentley 
valued highly the approval of his professional brethren. As bit 
by bit the scaffolding came down, and the cathedral emerged, as 
it were, from the chrysalis state, a rapidly increasing chorus of 
praise and recognition of the supreme value and significance of 
his achievement came from those who understood and were 
qualified to criticise. Professor Lethaby, in an article in the 
Architectural Review for January 1902, was the spokesman of 
professional opinion. He and Norman Shaw had visited the 
building in the architect's company some time in December 
1901, and, as Bentley modestly phrased it in a letter to Mr. Charles 
Hadfield, " Both said [they were] and appeared pleased with all 
they saw." 

Shaw's generous admiration was expressed later in glowing 
terms. " Beyond all doubt the finest church that has been 
built for centuries. Superb in its scale and character, and 
full of the most devouring interest, it is impossible to overrate 
the magnificence of the design. The genius of the architect has 
converted conditions which to many would have been serious 
obstacles into the stepping stones to a great artistic triumph." 


Professor Lethaby, whose valuable book on Santa Sophia 
Bentley had carried with him and absorbed while on his tour of 
study in Italy, dwelt, in his article on Westminster Cathedral, as 
Bentley remarked, " strongly on the practical phase." The 
learned professor regards it as a "building homogeneous, simply 
seen, and directly constructed — monumental as we say. The larger 
parts cohere into organic unity and it is set out on lines liberal 
and suave, without unnecessary art-nooks and transparent pre- 
tences of spontaneous simplicity. The scale is very large, the 
span equal indeed to the largest known, and the height ample. 
Subsidiary parts, like the baptistery and the side chapels of the 
Virgin and the Sacrament, are themselves large, but the main 
church carries them as proudly as a liner carries little ships slung 
on davits." 

The writer, after describing the plan and something of the 
construction, thus summarizes its excellences : 

" Throughout the church indeed the constructive ideas are finely 
conceived and realized with great daring, assurance, and success. 
Other points which particularly appealed to me are : the masterly 
simplicity of the whole scheme by which a huge unit bay of 60 ft. 
square, four times repeated, and a noble apse form the effective 
interior ; the interweaving of the nave arcades with the mighty 
piers which stand within the curtain walls : the contrivance of 
treating the buttress space thus formed as a second aisle roofed 
above, with a lean-to abutting the thrust of the nave cupolas ; 
the doubling of the bays to the great squares, so that outside the 
weighted buttress masses come opposite the centres of the dome 
thrusts ; the simple service of the great stairs ; the contrivance 
of the passage-ways across the transepts, and at various heights 
of the building ; the concrete vaulting of the aisles, which forms 
vast slabs of stiffening between the great pier masses ; the selection 
and management of the materials, as, for instance, the solidity of 
the masses of common brickwork ; the direct ingenuity by which 
the thin facing is applied, one course of headers bonding with 
the backing securing to four courses of stretchers ; the large use 


of concrete, asphalt, terracotta, and cast lead ; the non-use of 
concealed structural ironwork ; the monolithic marble columns. 
Other dispositions for convenience and effective display are very 
fine, and amongst these I would especially call attention to the 
change in the dome over the crossing whereby light as from a 
crown is radiated over the high altar ; the management of the 
transepts where by means of a transverse colonnade and large 
lunette above, the double space is opened up as one ; the way 
the crypt is made visible from the presbytery by a series of arches ; 
the colonnades supporting the singers' galleries right and left of 
the presbytery ; the two exedrse which open as watching-chambers 
from the staircases north and south of the altar. . . . Inside ' 
. . . the instant impression is that of reality, reason and power, 
serenity and peace. Almost a sense of nature — the natural law 
of structure." 

The natural outcome of this symposium of appreciation was 
the decision in February of the Royal Institute of British Archi- 
tects to nominate the architect for the King's Gold Medal ' of that 
year. Bentley appreciated the honour, " coming really as it does 
from my confreres whose opinion I value and to whose judgment 
I attach the utmost importance, especially the men of thought, 
and those who are endeavouring to make architecture a living 
and not a dead art." ' But it was an honour he was destined 
never to receive. Endurance was wearing low. " At times," he 
wrote, " I am tempted to wish for a long rest. For some time I 
feel that I have been at straining tension. I suppose weak health 
and years are beginning to tell." * The cry of the brave, weary 
spirt was soon to be answered. 

On March 1st the whole of the shell of the cathedral was com- 
pleted with the exception of some carving on the fa9ades and the 

1 Elsewhere (Chapter VI.) we have quoted what Professor Lethaby htid to say about 
the exterior. 

2 But for Queen Victoria's death he would have been nominated for it a year earlier ; 
for that reason no medal was given in 1901. 

3 Letter to Mr. Charles HadQold, February 13th, 1902. 
* Ibid., December 29th, 1901. 


last 50 ft. of the campanile, whose brickwork would have been 
finished but for a hard frost which had stopped all building for 
about three weeks. The first slabs of marble veneering, all that 
Bentley's mortal eyes were to behold, were fixed in the Brampton 
Chapel on February 28th. He was at his office as usual on 
Saturday, March 1st, and spent part of the morning showing the 
drawings of the great crucifix and the marble pavements to Mr. 
Charles Hadfield, who had come from Sheffield to see him. " He 
was full of enthusiasm about the cathedral's progress," says this 
friend, and it was observed how comparatively well he was 
that morning, speaking with less difficulty and talking of a probable 
visit to the United States in the early summer. He quitted his 
office earlier in the afternoon than was his wont (usually Satui'day 
was for him a long working day) and it is supposed that the last 
conscious hours of his life were spent at the cathedral. Thus 
only can the time be accounted for that preceded his arrival 
at the house of some friends in Grosvenor Road, where in a 
short space the fatal seizure overwhelmed him. 

A priest from the cathedral came to minister to him before he 
was carried home. At dawn on Sunday morning, without regain- 
ing consciousness, the tired spirit passed. 

His family and friends hoped that the arcliitect's body might 
be laid to rest where mind and heart so long had dwelt — beneath 
the campanile would be a fitting spot, suggested one — but they 
were informed that the legal difficulties were insurmountable, 
permission to remove the bodies of the two Cardinal Archbishops 
from Kensal Green to Westminster having then for several years 
been sought in vain. Cardinal Vaughan arranged therefore that the 
requiem should be sung in his presence at St. Mary's, Clapham, 
preceding the burial at the little Mortlake cemetery, on Wednesday, 
March 5th. There is no doubt that he felt Bentley's death very 
deeply ; the late Mr. Austin Gates was with him at breakfast 
when the news came and afterwards told the writer that the 
Cardinal was completely overwhelmed by the tragic suddenness of 
the calamity, for which he was not in tlie least prepared. At the 


requiem he gave the last absolution, and preached a panegyric 
as a tribute of his affection and admiration for the dead architect, 
wherein the highest proof of his regret was the pledge publicly and 
solemnly given to carry on his work on the lines Bentley had 
indicated and for which he had left sufficient guidance. 

Although Bentley had prepared a quantity of detail in a 
more or less finished condition, he had made no dispositions what- 
ever for the carrying on of the work in the event of his death. In 
view of the Cardinal's promise, it was decided to constitute a 
firm to be styled John F. Bentley, Son & Marshall, and to make 
Mr. John A. Marshall, for many years in Bentley's office and 
latterly his chief assistant, a partner therein ; provision being 
made that the architect's second son Osmond should join him as 
soon as he had gained sufficient experience. The continuity of 
ideas and tradition was thus thought to be assured as far as, 
humanly speaking, it could be without the guidance of the master- 
mind, provided of course that a faithful and rigid adherence to 
Bentley's plans was observed. Herein lay the sole possibility of 

Chiefly on account of the architect's death and also because 
there was not the faintest chance of the baldacchino being ready, 
the opening of the cathedral could not take place, as the Cardinal 
had expected, in the week fixed for King Edward VII's Corona- 
tion. It was arranged, however, to open it to the public for a 
concert of sacred music, to be in the nature of a trial of the 
building's acoustic properties. Small and informal experiments 
made soon after the roofing was completed had given encouraging 
results, and the authorities were eager to put the matter to a 
more searching and satisfactory test. The choristers, assembled, 
as we have seen, in the autumn of 1901, were in six months 
sufficiently trained for performance in public and had already, 
on Ascension Day, taken part in the first Mass solemnized in the 
cathedral precincts. 

This performance of sacred music was therefore advertised to 
take place in the cathedral on the afternoon of June 11th, the 


tickets being sold for the benefit of the Choir School and to defray 
expenses. The musicians included an orchestra of one hundred 
performers and a chorus of two hundred voices, composed of the 
united choirs of Westminster and the Oratory, with other singers 
included to make up the number, under the direction of Dr. R. 
R. Terry, director of Westminster Cathedral Choir. The concert 
opened with Wagner's " Holy Supper of the Apostles," for men's 
voices and orchestra, and embraced the works of composers so 
far apart in time and school as Beethoven and Palestrina. Purcell's 
" Te Deum " in D, composed for St. Cecilia's Day, 1694, finely 
rendered by soloist, chorus, and orchestra, was followed by 
Beethoven's Symphony in C Minor, Palestrina's " Surge illuminare " 
given by an unaccompanied double choir, four old English 
motets by Byrd, Tallis, and Blow, and Wingham's MSS. motet 
"AmavitSapientiam," rendered by a soloist, chorus, and orchestra. 

The Cardinal, surrounded with bishops, monsignori, and other 
clergy, sat in the west tribune, and about three thousand other 
persons were present. The building, absolutely bare and un- 
decorated, had been cleared of every trace of scaffolding, and the 
result, awaited in an attitude of keen expectancy, was all 
that could be desired. This concert proved that the building 
was endowed with rare acoustic properties, not only with the 
true cathedral quality of increasing the beauty of sound and 
endowing the human voice with unwonted splendour and beauty, 
but — and this was more vital — with an absolute freedom from 
echo and a perfect conductivity of tone. During the summer 
months free organ recitals were given every Saturday afternoon 
with the object of attracting people to the cathedral and interesting 
them in its music. 

On Saturday, June 6th, 1903, a year later, followed a second 
musical festival, when Cardinal Newman's Dream of Gerontius, 
composed by Sir Edward Elgar, was for the first time presented 
to a London audience, by permission of Cardinal Vaughan, in the 
cathedral. The composer conducted an orchestra of one hundred 
performers, the Symphonic Orchestra of Amsterdam, with an 


established continental reputation, which, then on a visit to 
England, had appeared three days earlier at St. James's Hall. Dr. 
Terry was at the organ, the choruses were sung by the North 
Staffordshire District Choral Society, numbering over two hundred 
voices, and the semi-choruses by twenty-four voices, under the 
baton of Mr. J. Whewall. The tenor part of Gerontius was taken 
by Dr. Ludwig Wiillner, who had successfully interpreted it at 
Diisseldorf at the Lower Rhenish Festival in the May of the 
previous year. Miss Muriel Foster sang the soprano music, the 
part of the Angel ; and Mr. Ffrangcon Davies, baritone, imper- 
sonated the priest and the Angel of the Agony with great earnest- 
ness and religious intensity. 

The performance aroused much interest in the musical world, 
in view of the previous successful renderings of the oratorio at 
the Worcester and Sheffield Festivals in 1902 ; while others were 
attracted by the locale, so that the floor of the great cathedral 
was packed, many persons finding seats in galleries and tribunes. 
The tickets for reserved seats ranged from five guineas to 10s. 6rf. ; 
unreserved were 5s. and admittance 2s. 6d., the net proceeds 
being again for the benefit of the cathedral Choir School. The 
Cardinal this time was not present ; he was lying on his sick bed 
at St. Joseph's College, Mill Hill. 

A fortnight later, through the great west door thrown wide for 
this first solemn religious ceremony, the body of the Cardinal 
Founder was borne in the June twilight to lie in state in the 
embracing shelter of his vast nave. He had passed away shortly 
before midnight on Friday, June 19th. On Sunday night the 
coffin, brought from Mill Hill, was received at the doors by the 
Bishop of Emmaus, Monsignor Johnson, Monsignor Fenton, 
Monsignor Moyes, Monsignor Dunn, the whole college of pre- 
bendaries and chaplains, and the brothers of the dead Cardinal, 
and escorted in procession to the black-draped catafalque beneath 
the dome of the crossing. One who was present has recorded ' 
his impressions of that mournful moment : 

1 The Tablet, June 27th, 1903. 


" The great cathedral was touched with a strangely pathetic 
interest that will cling to it for evermore, when the mortal remains 
of its great builder were brought to dwell for a while within its 
yet unfinished walls, before being laid to rest in the grave. The 
drenching rain of the previous week had ceased on Sunday, and 
a thin mist hung round the domes and turrets in the chill night 
air. Faithful groups had been waiting patiently outside the 
doors some hours when at twenty minutes to eleven the simple 
hearse and a single coach arrived. The doors closed on the leaden 
casket, which was received by the cathedral clergy, the people 
went their way. Simple, solemn, and impressive was the scene 
without. Within, the body was placed on the catafalque, the 
customary prayers were recited, the vigil began, and the deep 
mysterious shadows of the mighty pile closed round the body as 
in the tomb. The noble monument of a splendid faith, the builder 
raised it as a house of prayer for the living and the dead. He was not 
destined to intone the grand ' Te Deum ' of its consecration, but a 
solemn dirge for his faithful soul was to signalize its sacred dedica- 
tion, and as he lay there in the silence of the night and the stillness 
of death, up in the domes the echoes seemed to linger of Newman's 
deathless Dream, ' Praise to the Holiest in the height and in the 
depth be praise.' " 

On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights the 
vigil round the body continued, being kept by members of the four 
Mendicant orders, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Ser- 
vites, and by four nuns from the convent of the Sisters of Nazareth 
and the Sisters of Charity. The watches of the deeper night were 
performed by the cathedral clergy, each in turn taking duty from 
10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Each morning a succession of Low Masses were 
said from 6 o'clock till 9 at a temporary altar erected at the foot 
of the sanctuary steps. At nine daily was celebrated a solemn 
High Mass of Requiem, except on Wednesday, the Feast of St. 
John the Baptist, when the Mass of the Feast was sung instead. 

Throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday the cathedral 
was open to the public, who came in thousands to pass in reverent 


procession by the simple bier of the dead prelate ; as many as 
27,000 were counted on one day. At nightfall vespers and matins 
of the dead were sung by the clergy and choir, after which the 
church was given over to the watchers in their solemn vigil. On 
Wednesday the cathedral was closed all day after the High Mass 
until the dirge at 6 p.m., in order to prepare for the funeral on 

The Cardinal's express wish that not a single unnecessary 
sixpence should be spent upon his funeral was faithfully observed, 
and all was characterized by the severest simplicity and plainness. 
The sanctuary was draped entirely with black, the catafalque was 
black, save for a border of gold and the scarlet hat suspended at 
the head of the coffin, with its great tasselled ends hanging to the 
floor. Six tall candles had burned round the coffin dvu-ing the lying- 
in- state ; at the funeral it was surrounded by four rows of many 
closely set tapers. A square enclosure was reserved round it to 
allow space for the bishops, when giving the last absolutions ; 
the six rows of seats on either side being occupied by the clergy. 
The sanctuary and transepts were reserved for other bishops and 
clergy ; a great multitude representative of the whole Catholic 
Church in the British Isles crowding the cathedral, floor and 
galleries. It was a memorable and impressive scene. 

The music of the requiem was magnificently rendered by two 
choirs, that of the cathedral and a choir of priests from the dioceses 
of Westminster, Southwark, and Portsmouth, the Mass being cele- 
brated by Monsignor Algernon Stanley, Bishop of Emmaus and 
Bishop-assistant to the late Cardinal. It fell to the lot of Dr. 
Hedley to pronounce the panegyric, as eleven years before he had 
preached that of Cardinal Manning. The absolutions were given 
in turn by four bishops, the final absolution coming from Cardinal 
Logue, Archbishop of Armagh, thus once again intimately 
associated Avith the history of that cathedral whose first stone he 
had helped to lay almost to the day eight years before. 

And so the ceremonial of mourning and hope ended, the coffin 
was left again to the watchers, until at six o'clock on Friday 


morning it was removed to the chapel of the Missionary College 
at Mill Hill, to be interred there the following day. 

The enthronization of the present Cardinal Archbishop was 
the next public event in 1903, followed by the opening of the 
cathedral for daily use on the Christmas Eve of that year. The 
solemn celebration of the thirteenth centenary of St, Gregory the 
Great marked the year 1904. In 1907 the bodies of the two first 
Archbishops of Westminster were translated from their graves 
in Kensal Green Cemetery to their places in the crypt beneath 
the high altar. In 1908 the cathedral welcomed and witnessed 
the splendid Eucharistic Congress, presided over by the Legate, 
Cardinal Vanutelli, and attended by six other cardinals and over 
a hundred bishops. The celebration of the eighth centenary of 
St. Anselm of Canterbury, which took place in 1909, concludes 
this brief survey of the main outstanding events in the ceremonial 
history of the cathedral, previous to the greatest event of all, its 
consecration and dedication in fee simple to the service of God in 
June 1910. 

A debt of close on £7,000 on the general building fund which 
still encumbered the fabric had to be liquidated before the long- 
delayed consecration could take place. The Archbishop issued 
in February a special appeal, and by the end of April every farthing 
of the debt having been discharged by generous benefactors, 
nothing further stood in the way of the consecration. 

The ceremonies, carried out with the utmost pomp and dignity 
as befitted the unique occasion, occupied three days. They began 
on Monday, June 27th, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon by the Exposi- 
tion of the Relics in the Cathedral Hall, wliieh Archbishop Bourne 
entered in procession, and ascended the platform whereon an altar 
had been erected. Here he sealed in silver caskets, together with 
three grains of incense, and an inscribed strip of parchment, the 
relics of the bodies of the saints intended to be deposited under 
each of the thirteen altars of the cathedral. Those for the high 
altar were relics of four English saints, St. Boniface of Fulda, 
St. Thomas and St. Edmund of Canterbury, and St. William of 


York and of the patron of the Archbishop, St. Francis of Sales. 
After the sealing of the caskets each was placed on a miniature 
shrine to await the ceremony of sepulture on the morrow. The 
cathedral choir, seated in the body of the hall facing the cathedral 
clergy, sang the anthem " Justorum Animae," by William Byrd, 
1607, during the rite which terminated with the singing of Matins 
and Lauds. 

On Tuesday, June 28th, the Pope gave a special dispensation 
from the fast of the Vigil of the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul to 
all those attending the ceremonies of the 28th, a necessary and 
much appreciated privilege when it is realized that the clergy 
taking part were on duty for seven and a half hours, and some 
had fasted as prescribed on the vigil of the ceremony, and the laity, 
not admitted to the church till eleven o'clock, were there for three 
and a half hours, preceded by the long and exhausting wait outside 
in the discomforts of a blazing sun and abnormally high wind. 

The rite of consecration was preceded by the office of Prime, 
sung in the Cathedral Hall at 7 a.m. At half-past seven the con- 
secration ceremonies, full of strange and half-forgotten symbolism, 
began with the recitation of the seven penitential psalms before 
the relics. At eight o'clock the Archbishop, vested in a cope of 
white gold-embroidered brocade and a plain gold mitre, and 
carrying his pastoral staff, emerged from the Cathedral Hall, and, 
accompanied by deacon and sub-deacon vested in albs and pre- 
ceded by crossbearer and thurifers, walked in procession to the 
west end of the cathedral, where in these quiet early morning 
hours the outside ceremonies began. 

First the litanies of the saints, then the blessing and mingling 
of the salt and water, placed on a table outside the great door, 
wherewith the Archbishop was to sprinkle with a spray of hyssop 
the outer walls and ground, making, with two acolytes carrying 
lighted tapers, the three-fold circuit prescribed, symbolic of holy 
baptism and triple immersion into its saving waters. At the 
close of each circuit the Archbishop made his claim of admission, 
knocking at the door once over the threshold with the end of his 


pastoral staff. The choir formed a wide half-circle around, and at 
the third time of knocking, on the words " Open, open, open " and 
the tracing of a cross on the threshold with the end of his staff, 
the door was thrown wide open by the solitary deacon within, and 
the procession having entered the empty building, it was again 
closed, none of the laity, except the masons to fix the altar stones, 
being allowed to enter. 

The third stage of the rite was then begun, the nave having 
been previously painted with two broad diagonal white paths 
intersecting at the centre and having heaps of ashes placed thereon 
at intervals of about 6 ft., a card traced with a letter of the alpha- 
bet, Latin or Greek, being placed by each heap. At a faldstool 
placed at the point of intersection, the Archbishop took his place 
during the singing of the hymn " Veni Creator," the chanting of 
the litanies of the saints, and the canticles of Zacharias. During 
this last he set forth with mitre and staff, accompanied by deacon, 
sub-deacon, crossbearer, and acolytes, towards the west end, and 
starting from the north-west corner traced the twenty-three letters 
of the Greek alphabet in the little mounds of ashes set along the 
prepared path. Then, returning to the south-west corner, he 
formed in like manner the twenty-four letters of the Latin alphabet 
along the second path, this curious ancient ceremony symbolizing 
the instruction of the newly baptized in the elements of faith and 
piety ; the crossing of the two lines, it is said, pointing to the cross, 
i.e. Christ crucified, as the central point of Christian teaching. 
The doxology having been intoned three times successively by 
the celebrant, he proceeded to the exorcism of the salt and water, 
and the blessing of the ashes, finally mingling all three, and pouring 
into the water the wine, also hallowed. 

The next portion of the ritual was the simultaneous consecra- 
tion of the altars, the high altar by Archbishop Bourne and the 
thirteen other altars by thirteen of the bishops present : 

1. Altar of the Blessed 

Sacrament . . Dr. Ilsley, Bishop of Birmingham. 

2. Altar of our Lady . Dr. Hedley, Bishop of Newport. 


3. Altar of the Sacred Heart 

and St. Michael 

4. Altar of St. Joseph 

5. Altar of St. Peter in 


6. Altar of St. George and 

the English Martyrs . 

7. Altar of St. Andrew and 

the Saints of Scotland 

8. Altar of St. Patrick and 

the Saints of Ireland 

9. Altar of St. Paul 

10. Altar of SS. Gregory 

and Augustine . 

11. Altar of St. Thomas of 


12. Altar in the Chapel of 

the Holy Souls 

13. Altar of St. Edmund of 

Canterbury, in Crypt 

Dr. Singleton, Bishop of Shrews- 
Dr. Whiteside, Bishop of Liverpool. 

Dr. Amigo, Bishop of Southwark. 

Dr. Mostyn, Bishop of Menevia. 

Dr. Keating, Bishop of Northamp- 

Dr. Lacy, Bishop of Middles- 

Dr. Brindle, Bishop of Nottingham. 

Dr. Burton, Bishop of Clifton. 

Dr. Casartelli, Bishop of Salford. 
Dr. Collins, Bishop of Hexham and 

Dr. Fenton, Bishop of Amycla. 

Next followed the thrice-repeated procession round the interior 
to sprinkle the walls on their lower part, at the height of a man's 
face, and again yet higher, the floor being hallowed in like manner 
from the altar to the main entrance crosswise from side to side 
and north, east, south, and west. 

Then at length were the vast crowds waiting outside the 
cathedral permitted to take some part in the ceremony, even 
though it were only that of passive spectators. A great procession 
of all those taking part in the ceremonial set out to fetch the 
holy relics from their temporary resting-place in the Cathedral 
Hall, and to carry them shoulder high in solemn state round the 
exterior of the church. 

It was a marvellously gay yet reverent pageant under the hot 
June sun, banners and flags waving joyously in the almost too 
boisterous breeze and every note of colour giving its utmost value 


to the spectacular sum total of this triumphant progress. The 
purple-clad macebearer followed by a long line of regulars, Augus- 
tinians, Carmelites, Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Ser- 
vites, Passionists, Oratorians, Redemptorists, and Jesuits in their 
habits, and of secular clergy in cassocks and cottas, called vividly 
to memory with a poignant sense of loss a similar procession 
winding round an empty site, where, fifteen years since, founder 
and architect had stood together beside a great granite block, the 
corner-stone of the noble sanctuary to be. Canons representative 
of all the dioceses of England walked next preceding the relics 
laid on four biers, surmounted by silken canopies and borne on the 
shoulders of young priests, attended by thurifers. Next, mitred 
and vested in rich copes, came the twelve bishops-consecrators, 
and lastly Archbishop Bourne, bearing his pastoral staff, and 
attended by eight papal chamberlains in scarlet uniforms with 
swords and white plumed cocked hats. 

The beautiful and appropriate words of the four antiphons 
appointed by the rubric were sung by the choir as the procession 
moved on its way. The circuit of the walls completed and the 
great doors regained, above which the Union Jack and the Papal 
Flag flew side by side, the Archbishop took his seat on a faldstool 
there set, and gave the prescribed exhortation to reverence in 
consecrated churches, followed by the anointing of the door with 
chrism in the sign of the cross. The procession with the relic 
biers then entered the church, and deposited them upon the altar. 
Then the thirteen bishops-consecrators, taking their thirteen 
several caskets of relics, carried them in procession to their respective 
altars, and began at once the ceremonial of deposition. 

At this point the patient laity were admitted, several thousand 
chairs to accommodate them having been arranged while the pro- 
cession was in progress outside. In a small sepulchre hollowed in 
the centre on the top of each marble altar the silver casket was 
placed, and the cavity closed by a slab, secured with the prepared 
mortar, each celebrant being attended by a mason to complete 
the work, a privilege reserved at the high altar for Osmond 


Bentley, son of the architect. Then followed all the long ritual 
of incensing, anointing the altars, accompanied with many psalms, 
antiphons, and prayers ; then the unction of the twelve consecra- 
tion crosses ' of stone affixed to the walls. Next, on the altars, 
took place the burning of the five crosses of tapers and incense, 
and further anointing of their stones, terminating with the vesting 
of the altars and blessing of their altarcloths, vases, and ornaments. 

Over six hoxirs had this ancient and wonderful ceremonial 
lasted, when at length the Pontifical Mass of the Dedication was 
begun. It was celebrated by Dr. Cotter, Auxiliary Bishop of 
Portsmouth (Dr. Cahill, the Bishop of this diocese who was to 
have sung it being incapacitated by illness), in the presence of the 
Archbishop of Westminster and twenty-six bishops and abbots 
assembled in the sanctuary. The music, exquisitely rendered 
in spite of intense fatigue by the cathedral choir, was the " Missa 
Quinti Toni " by Orlando di Lasso (1520-1594) and the motet 
" Elegi abjectus esse" for five voices by Peter Philips, an English 
ecclesiastic of the sixteenth century. 

Thus was forged another link in the chain of continuity, for the 
rite of consecration of Westminster Cathedral in the year of grace 
1910 was identical with that by which Westminster Abbey was 
hallowed in 1065, nearly eight hundred and fifty years before. The 
musical tones of the great bell Edward in the tower dedicated 
appropriately to the sainted builder of the abbey church, were 
heard for the first time at the Elevation during this Mass of 
Dedication of Westminster Cathedral. 

At half-past two the Archbishop gave the final benediction, 
and the huge congregation dispersed for a time for rest and refresh- 
ment. At seven o'clock the cathedral was again crowded for vespers 
and benediction, sung in the presence of the Archbishop and the 
Hierarchy. During the service the Bishop of Clifton ascended the 
pulpit, to read the following message received from Pope Pius X ; 
" To his Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, at the Archbishop's 

^ The cost of these, £8 each, was defrayed before the consecration by a generous 


House, Westminster — The Holy Father, present in spirit at 
to-day's solemn consecration of Westminster Cathedral, whilst 
the sweet strains of their hymns still resound in the ears of 
the faithful, begs God that He would ever hear their prayers 
from the throne of His glory on high. His Holiness, whilst he 
thanks your Grace for the gift of the volume relating to to-day's 
event, lovingly imparts to you, to the bishops, to the clergy, and 
the whole people of your archdiocese his apostolic blessing." The 
bishop also read the text of the telegram to be despatched in 
response : " The Archbishop of Westminster, together with his 
chapter, clergy, and people, and the bishops of England, together 
with their chapters, have received the message and blessing of the 
Holy Father with feelings of the greatest gratitude. They tender 
to him the expression of their most devoted attachment both to 
Peter and to Peter's successor." 

On Wednesday, June 29th, the feast of the apostles St. Peter 
and St. Paul and the anniversary of the laying of the first stone, 
was celebrated with high pomp the Diamond Jubilee of the 
Restoration of the Hierarchy in England. Matins, Lauds, and 
Prime were sung at 8.45. At 10 o'clock solemn Terce, chanted 
entirely in Gregorian, was followed by a procession round the 
cathedral, the Archbishop wearing the pallium while the episco- 
pate were all vested in scarlet copes and gold mitres, making a 
vivid and picturesque scene. The hymn during the procession 
was " Felix per omnes." High Mass was then sung by the Arch- 
bishop of Westminster in the presence of three archbishops — of the 
titular sees of Trebizond, Ptolemy, and Seleucia — twenty bishops, 
eight abbots, and hundreds of the clergy, secular and regular. 
The vast lay congregation included Sir John Knill, Bt., Lord 
Mayor of London, in his state robes of black and gold, and Lady 
Knill ; the Mayors of Darlington, Oswestry, and Hyde, wearing 
their red robes and chains of office ; most of the Catholic peers, 
and many other founders of the cathedral, representatives of 
religious orders of women, and an immense number of men and 
women of all classes. The cathedral was open free, but to 


regulate the crowd it was necessary to admit only ticket-holders 
to the nave ; a certain number of reserved seats at a guinea for 
the two days were sold, however, towards defraying the heavy 
expenditure entailed. 

The music for the High Mass was William Byrd's setting 
for five voices, the motet chosen being Palestrina's six-part 
" Tu es Petrus." The sermon on this auspicious occasion was 
preached by Dom Hedley, O.S.B,, Bishop of Newport, who 
seven years earlier had spoken the panegyric of the dead Cardinal 
Founder in that same place. He took for his text the words 
from Joshua iii. 6, " Take ye the Ark of the Covenant, and go 
before the people." The offices of Sext and None followed the 
Mass. At four o'clock in the afternoon vespers were sung, and 
benediction given by the Bishop of Birmingham, and so the 
great festival drew to its close. No words could exaggerate the 
striking beauty and solemnity with which the high ceremonies of 
this historic occasion had been ordered and performed. Their 
memory will live unfadingly in the minds of those privileged 
to be present. 

That the occasion should also be celebrated in some social 
manner was assuredly fitting. Sir John Knill came forward as 
host, and issued invitations to a great banquet at the Mansion 
House " to meet Archbishop Botirne and the Roman Catholic 
Bishops." The flower of the Catholic body in England were 
assembled, and the usual loyal toasts were drunk and honoured. 

Thus the day of consecration so long delayed and so ardently 
desired passed into the realm of achievement and the roll of 
history. There remains to be fulfilled the adornment of the 
great church's interior, a consummation which eyes now living 
may scarcely hope to see, but a splendid and unique opportunity 
for generations yet unborn to prove their faith and gratitude. 
May these artists of the future be endowed with reverence and 
understanding of the spirit of Bentley's noble idea ; far better 
else the puritan coat of whitewash advocated by some for walls 
and domes alike to preserve their simple grandeur. 


Founder and architect both sleep far from the stately walls 
they reared ; but effigy and chantry perpetuate Vaughan's 
memory within them. Though Bentley's name, like those of the 
cathedral architects of old, is unrecorded on tomb or tablet, surely 
the waters of oblivion will never roll over it. Well might he 
say, as Wren before him, " Si monumentum requiris, circumspice," 
for the cathedral itself shall be his monument, great and 


Deceased Founders and Benefactors are marked thus : t- 

I. Pioneers, who Gave £1,000 or More to the Purchase of the Site 

fHis Eminence Henry Edward, t^ord Gerard (1st Baron). 

Cardinal Manning. t^elen, Countess Tasker. 

tHenry, 15th Duke of Norfolk, E.M., JBaroness Weld. 

K.G. F. M. Spilsbury. 

fLord Petre (12th Baron). Anonymous. 

II. Founders who have Given £1,000 ok More since May 1894 

tHis Holiness Pope Leo XIII. 
•{"His Eminence Herbert, Cardinal 

tHenry, 15th Duke of Norfolk, E.M., 

t Alfonso H., 1st Duke of Gandolfi, 

fHenrietta A., Duchess Dowager of 

•j-John, 3rd Marquess of Bute, K.T. 
John, 4tli Marquess of Bute. 
tGeorge F. S., 1st Marquess of 

Ripon, K.G. 
fThe Marquis de Misa. 
•{"Bertram, 5th Earl of Ashburnham. 
tHenry, Viscount Llandaff, P.C. 
•^Isabella, Lady Beaumont. 
■fHenry, 1st Baron Brampton, and 

Jane Louisa, his wife. 
■fMary Elizabeth, Lady Herbert of 


fAnne, Lady Milford. 
fSusan Elizabeth, Lady Sherborne. 
•{"The Baroness Weld. 
•fCount Arthur Moore. 
Hon. and Right Rev. Monsignor 
Stanley, Bishop of Emmaus. 
Maria Georgiana, Lady Loder. 
Sir Humphrey de Trafford, 3rd Bt. 
fSir Edward Blount, K.C.B. 
■fSir Walter de Souza. 
Anonymous (A.F.). 
Anonymous (G. P.). 
Anonymous (" George "). 
Anonymous (H. A. D.). 
Arnold, G. M. 
Aungier, John. 
fBailey, John Rand. 
Bates, Escalanti Y. 
Belton, John,. 
Berners, Miss Julia. 
Bowring, Algernon. 




Bretherton, F. Stapleton-, and Isa- 
bella Mary, his wife 

■fButler, In memoriam James and 

Carr-Smith, Miss Agnes M. 

Caulfield, James F. 

■fCave, Lawrence Trent. 

Clowes, Miss Anna Maria. 

Coats, Sir Stuart A., Bart,, K.C.S.G. 

Coleman, John. 

Colvin, Mrs. 

Curtis, Robert L. 

Dalglish-Bellasis, William, and his 

D'Arcy, W. K. 

Davidson, Henry. 

de Trafford, Sister Mary Edith. 

Dobson, William E. 

tDodsworth, Miss E. J. 

Donahue, P. J., Esq. 

Dunn, Very Rev. Monsignor Thomas, 
Bishop of Nottingham. 

fEyre, Thomas. 

Fenton, Right Rev. Monsignor, Pro- 
vost, V.G., Bishop of Amycla. 

Fitzgerald, Mary. 

Giles, Colonel William Oughton, and 
Ellen, his wife. 

Gray, Miss A. E. 

Harmar, Mrs. 

Harris, E. A. 

Hicks, J. J., K.C.S.G. 

Holland, S. Taprell. 

Jump, James. 

fKearsley, Henry. 

Kennedy, Sydney Ernest. 

tKing, Miss Emily. 

Knight, Colonel (In memory of the 
family of Knight of Lincolnshire). 

Lavery, Robert B. 

Lavie, Luis G. 

Lennon, Very Rev. Monsignor James. 

fLennon, Very Rev. Dean. 

Liddell, John. 

Loughnan, Miss Elizabeth A. 

■fLouis, Madame Jane. 

Lowenfeld, Henry. 

fLyall, W. H., and his wife. 

fMacdonell of Keppoch, Ewen (in 
memory of), and Annie Char- 
lotte Hill, his wife. 

Mackay, Mrs. {in memory of a Be- 
loved Son). 

Marks, John. 

fMills, Richard. 

Murphy, Mrs. 

Nettlefold, Mrs. Maria M. 

Palmer, Mrs. Caroline Mary Sam- 
borne- (nde Anstey) (in memory 
of her beloved parents). 

Petre, Miss Maude. 

fPurssell, Alfred. 

Reynolds, James P. 

Robertson, Charles, and Norah, his 

Shaw, Charles C. 

Smith, J. P. 

Smythe, Very Rev. Canon C. J. 

Sperling, Mrs. Annie Maria. 

Stephenson, Ada Mary Augusta. 

fUzielli, Madame. 

+Van Wart, Miss Emily. 

Walmesley, Mrs. Robert. 

Watney, A. Claude. 

Watson, Very Rev. Monsignor Ed- 
ward J., M.A. 

Weld-Blundell, Charles. 

fWhite, Very Rev. Alfred Canon 

Whitmore, Capt. T. F. C. Douglas. 

tWillmott, Mrs. Ellen. 

Woodroffe, James T., K.C.S.G. 
And several Anonymous Donors. 


III. Founders of Chapels in the Cathedral 

(1) The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. — The people of Spain and the 

Spanish nations in South America. 

(2) The Lady Chapel. — fBaroness Weld. 

(3) The Chapel of the Holy Souls.— Mrs. Robert Walmesley (Sister Ethel- 


(4) The Chapel of St. Gregory and St. Augustine. — fThe Lord and Lady 


(5) The Chapel of St. Andrew and all the Saints of Scotland. — John, fourth 

Marquess of Bute. 

(6) The Chapel of St. Patrick and all Irish Saints. — Subscriptions being 

received from Irish Catholics. 

(7) The Chapel of St. Paul. — Mrs. Caroline Mary Samborne-Palmer. 

(8) The Chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury. — The clergy of Great Britain 

(Cardinal Vaughan's Chantry). 

(9) The Shrine of the Sacred Heart and St. Michael. — The Religious and Past 

and Present Pupils of the Sacred Heart Order. 

(10) The Chapel of St. Joseph. Mrs. Claude Watney (Marble work). 

IV. Donors of Columns in the Cathedral 

(a) Twenty-one Columns in Nave and Transepts, costing £150 each 

(1) Rudolph, 9th Earl and the late (10) James J. Ford. 

Dowager Countess of Denbigh. (11) Alfred J. Gate. 

(2) The Hon. and Right Rev. Mon- (12) Frederick John Haskew and 

signer Stanley, Bishop of Em- Mary Haskew. 

maus. (13) Walter L. Hodgkinson. 

(3) The Rev. Thomas Abbot. (14) Miss Kirkpatrick. 

(4) Mr. and Mrs. Francis Berkeley (15) Miss Leeming. 

and Miss M. Weld. (16) John Liddell. 

(5) Mrs. Callaghan. (17) fW. H. Lyall. 

(6) Miss Caroline M. Clifford. (18) Mrs. W. H. Lyall. 

(7) Colonel Eden. (19) John Pattison. 

(8) Edward Eyre and family. (20) fMrs. Scrope. 

(9) Lewis Eyre. (21) Richard Ward and Miss Mary 

A. Ward. 

(i!>) Six Columns in Sanctuary, costing £110 each 


(1) The Catholic Social Union. (5) A Priest (thank-offering for con- 

(2) The Guild of Ransom. version). 

(3) (4) Mrs. Nettlefold. (6) Major Ratton. 


(c) Fourteen Columns in Sanctuary Galleries at £50 each 

(1) (2) Mr. and Mrs. Boothman. (10) League of the Cross. 

(3) (4) ChUdren of Mary. (11) Philip Lodwige. 

(5) Colonel and Mrs. Fitzgerald (12) John Charles Rees. 

Cologan. (13) Mrs. More Smyth (in memory of 

(6) tMrs. M. A. Costelloe. her husband). 

(7) Colonel Eden. (14) A Widow {in memory of her 

(8) The Hon. Mrs. Fraser. father). 

(9) William and Mary Hoggett. 

(d) Six Columns in the Crypt at £90 each 

(l)t Henrietta A., Duchess Dowager (4) ^Rev. W. H. Bodley. 

of Newcastle. (5) John Lancaster. 

(2) (3) fAlfred J. Blount. (6) Miss EmUy Paynter. 

{e) Four Granite Piers in the Crypt, at £100 each 

(1) John and Annie Martin. (3) (4) J. F. Woodroffe, K.C.S.G. 

(2) J. P. Smith. 

(/) Two Columns in North-west Porch 

(g) One Column in Outer Sacristy 

{h) Four Small Columns in the Tribunes looking into the Apse 

{i) Eight Veronese Columns {with Capitals and Bases) of the Baldacchino, at 

£250 each 

(1) The Hon. and Right Rev. Mon- (5) James Adamson. 

signor Stanley, Bishop o f (6) fThe Right Rev. Monsignor Pat- 
Emmaus. terson, Bishop of Emmaus. 

(2) Mrs. Lyall. (7) 
(8) (4) S. Ward. (8) 


V. Donors of Special Objects in the Cathedral 

The Foundation Stone. — W. G. Freeman. 

The High Altar.— The Hon. G. Savile. 

The Font. — fMary Georgiana, Lady Loder. 

The Pulpit. — S. Ernest Kennedy. 

The Archiepiscopal Throne. — The Catholic Bishops of England (to Cardinal 

The Statue of St. Peter in the Nave.— The friends of the late Rer. Luke Riving- 

ton, D.D., as a memorial to him. 
The Mosaic of Blessed Joan of Arc in North Transept. — The Catholic women 

and girls of England, by means of a penny subscription organized by 

the Catholic Women's League. 
The Stations of the Cross : 


Mrs. Brown Westhead. 


Major H. Knight, R.A. 


Mrs. Mansell. 


Mrs. Chilton Thomas. 


Mrs. Barrow. 


Mrs. Carey-Price. 


P. J. Smith. 


Mrs. Shee. 


Metropolitan Chapter of Westminster, 


Mrs. Field Stanfield. 


Miss Sherlock. 


Canon Joseph Burke. 


Mrs. Coxon. 


fMiss E. Van Wart (a thank-offering). 










Sq. ft. 





Westminster Cathedral 














Lincoln . 














Westminster Abbey . 







Ely ... 





















Durham . 







Peterborough . 














Norwich . 





















Lichfield . 














Carlisle . 







Chester . 





















Hereford . 





















^ Reprinted, by kind permission of Mr. Percy Lamb, by whom the table was prepared, 
from the Westminster Cathedral Record, January 1896. 

^ Line of present stalls. 

8 Choir. 

N.B. — In the above Table the total areas down to Lichfield (inclusive) are taken from 
Fergusson's History of Architecture, London, 1893 ; the breadths and heights of the naves 
are froi.-^ Britton's Dictionary of the Architecture and Archoeology of the Middle Ages, 
London, 1838. The nave lengths are measured from west end to rood screen, and are 
taken from The Cathedrals of England and Wales ; Builder Series, London, 1894. 



r3ff- above Nat* 


.24-o)i. L-r-x*:*"- 

; r-|6'"" 
-■ "17" ■ 

iloilliiajlJjMilSilS *-3: 


THE Archbishop's Throne was in use. 






;^Ai. <f ^ 'Cx.b 


Fig. 32. — Scheme of Mosaic Decoeation foe the Lady Chapel. 
By J. F. Bentley. 






D 000 730